Data is the most lucrative commodity right now and procurement of this valuable resource has come at the cost of privacy for consumers. Ever since the news broke out that Facebook (FB) inadvertently provided Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, access to the user data of millions of Facebook subscribers, resulting in Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election, people have been hyper-vigilant to what, and how, the information they share on the internet is stored. Privacy concerns online are just as important as locking your doors at night to keep safe. Depending on what you share on social media, you could be placing yourself, and most importantly, the data you’ve shared, at risk.
Concerns related to information shared on social media is one thing, but a recent consumer report suggests that some toy manufacturers may be selling toys that collect information from the children who play these products. With the advent of new technologies that are working to solve the world’s greatest issues also come major modifications to products designed for the toy industry. When I was growing up, a simple action-figure got the job done, and my imagination took care of the rest, but the stakes are much higher now. “Smart toys,” as they’ve come to be known, have a combination of sensors, cameras, microphones, data storage, and sometimes GPS, according to NBC.
“Data collected from interactions or conversations between children and toys are typically sent and stored by the manufacturer or developer via server or cloud service. In some cases, it is also collected by third-party companies who manage the voice recognition software used in the toys.”
–FBI Report on Internet-Connected Toys, July 17, 2017
The FBI’s consumer warning on smart toys also mentions that home addresses, Wi-Fi information, and other sensitive data could be exposed when children are playing with these “smart-toys.” Back in January, VTtech (VTKLF), one of the more popular brands of electronic toys, was fined $650,000 for collecting information from children without parental consent, as well as failure to secure recorded information on the company’s servers, resulting in the exposure of personal data from over twelve million children and parents, according to Consumer Reports.
In recent news, Mozilla discovered that the Amazon Fire HD Kids’ Edition (AMZN), a popular e-reader from the global marketplace behemoth, shares user data with third-party entities and stores all data captured from the device, which, to be clear, is marketed to children ages 3 and older. As more and more products become connected to the internet, consumers who purchase “connected” devices are placing their personal information at risk.
Amazon (AMZN) was quick to dispel these rumors, especially how untimely the news came about, with the holiday season only a few weeks away:
“Amazon has a longstanding commitment to privacy and data security, and Amazon FreeTime on Fire Kids Edition tablets is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). We do not share children’s data with third-parties.”
Big Data, the catch-all term for massive amounts of information that, following in-depth analyzation, can help companies across all industries create and innovate to meet the demands of consumers, but the water starts to get murky when people aren’t aware that their personal information is being used. In the case of children’s toys, security expert Troy Hunt told Vox that information stored by CloudPets toys had been exposed, giving anyone access to children’s names, birthdays, and other information shared by children while playing with their toys.
“There’s no doubt whatsoever in my mind that there are many other connected toys out there with serious security vulnerabilities in their services that sit behind them.”
–Troy Hunt, Security Expert
Recent reports suggest that the smart toy industry is projected to reach $18 billion in revenue by 2023, but if this impressive growth comes at the cost of parental concern for their child’s safety, maybe toymakers should just go back to action-figures, you know, toys that aren’t Bluetooth-enabled.
Biotech Stocks To Watch In June: Cara Therapeutics (CARA) & Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Among biotech companies, the competition between Cara Therapeutics Inc (CARA) and Intellia Therapeutics Inc (NTLA) has been an intriguing one. The two companies had been on the same level as far as the market cap goes during most of the year so far.
But Cara has now pulled ahead by as much as $150 million following positive data from its lead product candidate. That being said, it is also important to keep in mind that if an investor is looking at a long term investment, then the disparity in market cap between the two companies is a minor. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of Cara and Intellia.
Cara Therapeutics (CARA)
Cara Therapeutics is currently on the rise. Its lead product candidate Korsuva injection delivered highly encouraging results in its Phase 3 trial. It’s now believed that it would not be long before Cara has its first product on the market.
It is meant for the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic kidney disease-associated pruritus. According to reports, the results were great. Another late-stage test is going to be conducted soon. The results could be announced by the end of this year. If Korsuve is approved, then it will be marketed by Fresenius Medical Care and Vifor Pharma Group.
Cara has entered joint ventures with those companies to market the product in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. An oral version of Korsuva is also in the pipeline and could prove to be another important development.
Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA)
Intellia Therapeutics (INTA) is involved in creating CRISPR gene editing therapies. It is a segment that has a lot of promise in the future. Even though the company is some years away from having anything on the market, the promise of gene editing therapy is exciting. So much so that Intellia has already found partners in big-ticket firms like Regeneron and Novartis.
Intellia is expected to file for FDA approval for the clinical study into its lead product NLTA-2001 in 2020. It is meant for the treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis, an uncommon genetic disease. Studies into the products have proven to be promising so far. The company is also working on a product to treat myeloid leukemia.
Now when it comes to choosing between Cara and Intellia, experts believe that the former could a better company. It’s already on the verge of having an approved product on the market. Intellia, on the other hand, is likely to be some years away from winning approval.
4 Security Penny Stocks To Watch
As Threats Arise, Security Stocks Take Center Stage In 2019
With the Federal Reserve’s meeting coming, the general market is bracing for anything. Meanwhile, penny stocks are continuing to climb at absurd rates. Trading penny stocks as of late has brought many investors fruitful profits and they look to continue this trend. Here are some security penny stocks to watch for the remainder of June 2019:
Security Penny Stock #1
Liberty Defense Holdings (SCAN.V)
Market Cap: $46.404M
Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd. (SCAN.V) is a security company looking to take the industry into the next century. Liberty’s HEXWAVE product is a 3-dimensional scanning device that can detect weapons and threats of any kind. The product can do this both with speed and discretion ensuring privacy for citizens.
Liberty signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the soccer team FC Bayern München to beta test HEXWAVE in their arena. They join an ever-growing list of places that have signed MOU’s to beta test Liberty’s product. This MOU expands its ability to comply with and test the market requirements for their product internationally.
“The reception to our HEXWAVE product has been fantastic and we are excited about working alongside FC Bayern Munich, a team that is a household name in both Europe and North America, […] Our ability to deploy in both indoor and outdoor settings, with covert and overt applications, sets us apart and has also been driving increasing interest from the market.”Bill Riker, CEO of Liberty
Security Penny Stock #2
Magal Security Systems (MAGS)
Market Cap: $101.371M
Magal Security Systems Ltd. (MAGS) provides security solutions both online and physical. Some services provided include identifying potential security problems, integrating new systems, and custom designs for any type of security needs.
Recently, Magal received a $5.5 million contract for its advanced perimeter intrusion detection system. The system prevents people from illegally crossing border fences and walls.
Dror Sharon, CEO of Magal, stated, “Magal is a world leader in perimeter intrusion technologies. Our growing wins of orders such as this – providing sensors for active international borders, is due to the decades of experience that we have in providing systems that have more than proven themselves in-the-field.”
Security Penny Stock #3
Rekor Systems (REKR)
Market Cap: $27.502M
Rekor Systems Inc. (REKR) is a company that has developed surveillance technology to enhance public safety, banking, and traffic management. Primarily, the company takes their advanced software, which utilizes machine learning and upgrades IP cameras to the next level. This reduces the cost when collecting highway tolls and helps manage traffic congestion.
Throughout June, Rekor Systems has been gaining recognition and application across the US. On June 3rd Rekor obtained a contract to start deploying its Mobile LBR-2 vehicle recognition systems. After this deployment on the 3rd, the LPR-2 system North Carolina law enforcement placed an order. On June 12th, Colorado highway authorities chose Rekor’s cloud system called NUMERUS to read enhance their license plate reading.
Security Penny Stock #4
BIO-key International (BKYI)
Market Cap: $18.03M
BIO-key International Inc. (BKYI) is a security technologies company that is pushing past the limits of fingerprint scanning. BIO-key provides a plethora of finger scanning products that provide security for your computer, hard drive, and the government. They have a partnership with Microsoft to develop biometric sign-in for Windows 10.
The company recently announced that a foreign defense ministry ordered more BIO-key deployment for secure access to Microsoft applications.
“We were delighted that such a capable and prestigious technology team determined that BIO-key met their security and scalability requirements and have now made follow-on investments to grow their user base. Defense Ministries are constant targets of cyber-attacks, and we are glad to help them step up authentication to the highest assurance with NIST-verified accuracy and FIPS compliance.”Jim Sullivan, SVP of BIO
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