Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.

Tim Cook Says Today’s Kids Are ‘Born Digital’ and Warns Parents to ‘Set Some Hard Rails’ Around Screen Time

Insider reported:

Despite leading one of the most important tech companies in the world, Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t want to see kids glued to the company’s products.

“Kids are born digital, they’re digital kids now,” Cook was quoted saying in a lengthy profile of him published in GQ on Monday. “And it is, I think, really important to set some hard rails around it.”

Cook, who doesn’t have children, previously said that he didn’t want to see his nephew using social media and even argued that tech usage in schools should be limited.

In the GQ profile, Cook suggested that Apple is not driven by fostering digital addiction. “We don’t want people using our phones too much. We’re not incentivized for that. We don’t want that. We provide tools so people don’t do that,” Cook said.

TikTok Fined $15.9 Million by U.K. Watchdog Over Misuse of Kids’ Data

Associated Press reported:

Britain’s privacy watchdog hit TikTok with a multimillion-dollar penalty Tuesday for misusing children’s data and violating other protections for young users’ personal information.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it issued a fine of 12.7 million pounds ($15.9 million) to the short-video sharing app, which is wildly popular with young people.

The British watchdog, which was investigating data breaches between May 2018 and July 2020, said TikTok allowed as many as 1.4 million children in the U.K. under 13 to use the app in 2020, despite the platform’s own rules prohibiting children that young from setting up accounts.

TikTok didn’t adequately identify and remove children under 13 from the platform, the watchdog said. And even though it knew younger children were using the app, TikTok failed to get consent from their parents to process their data, as required by Britain’s data protection laws, the agency said.

University Facing Class-Action Over COVID Campus Lockdown

Associated Press reported:

A lawsuit against the University of Delaware over its campus shutdown and halting of in-person classes because of coronavirus can proceed as a class action on behalf of thousands of students who were enrolled and paid tuition in spring 2020, a federal judge has ruled.

Friday’s decision came just days before a scheduled hearing this week on the university’s request for the judge to rule in its favor without a trial. That hearing has been postponed indefinitely.

In his ruling, Judge Stephanos Bibas rejected the University of Delaware’s argument that the plaintiffs, who accuse the school of breach of contract and unjust enrichment, lacked standing to sue. The university also argued unsuccessfully that it is impossible to know who actually paid tuition because some students may have used outside sources like scholarships.

The plaintiffs have argued that, before the pandemic, the school treated in-person and online classes as separate offerings and charged more for some in-person programs than they did for similar online classes. They also noted that the university charged them fees for the gym, student centers and health center, sometimes at higher rates than those paid by online students and that the school kept those fees while denying them the services.

Nearly All Hospital Websites Send Tracking Data to Third Parties — Most Common Recipients of Data Were Alphabet, Meta, Adobe and AT&T

MedPage Today reported:

Third-party tracking is used on almost all U.S. hospital websites, endangering patient privacy, a cross-sectional observational study found.

Of 3,747 hospitals included in the 2019 American Hospital Association (AHA) annual survey, 98.6% of their website home pages had at least one third-party data transfer, and 94.3% had at least one third-party cookie.

“In the U.S., third-party tracking is ubiquitous and extensive,” researchers led by Ari B. Friedman, MD, Ph.D. of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, wrote in Health Affairs. “The high number of entities engaged in tracking on hospital websites heightens potential privacy risks to patients.”

The tracking data most commonly went to Google‘s parent company Alphabet (98.5% of homepages), followed by Meta (formerly Facebook), which was used in 55.6% of hospital homepages. Adobe Systems and AT&T collected data from 31.4% and 24.6% of hospital pages, respectively.

Senate Votes to Bar Any Future COVID Mask, Vaccine Mandates in Texas

The Dallas Morning News reported:

Local Texas governments and public schools wouldn’t be able to require face masks, vaccinations or business closures to fight COVID-19 under a bill the GOP-led Senate approved Monday.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott named such policy a priority. In a statement, Patrick said the measures will prevent local governments from ever again taking “extreme measures to shut down businesses, schools and houses of worship.”

The legislation, which also applies to the state, passed 20-11 largely along party lines with no debate. It now heads to the House.

ChatGPT Has a Big Privacy Problem

Wired reported:

When OpenAI released GPT-3 in July 2020, it offered a glimpse of the data used to train the large language model. Millions of pages scraped from the web, Reddit posts, books, and more are used to create the generative text system, according to a technical paper. Scooped up in this data is some of the personal information you share about yourself online. This data is now getting OpenAI into trouble.

On March 31, Italy’s data regulator issued a temporary emergency decision demanding OpenAI stop using the personal information of millions of Italians that’s included in its training data. According to the regulator, Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali, OpenAI doesn’t have the legal right to use people’s personal information in ChatGPT. In response, OpenAI has stopped people in Italy from accessing its chatbot while it provides responses to the officials, who are investigating further.

The action is the first taken against ChatGPT by a Western regulator and highlights privacy tensions around the creation of giant generative AI models, which are often trained on vast swathes of internet data. Just as artists and media companies have complained that generative AI developers have used their work without permission, the data regulator is now saying the same for people’s personal information.

Samsung Workers Made a Major Error by Using ChatGPT

TechRadar reported:

Samsung workers have unwittingly leaked top-secret data whilst using ChatGPT to help them with tasks.

The company allowed engineers at its semiconductor arm to use the AI writer to help fix problems with their source code. But in doing so, the workers inputted confidential data, such as the source code itself for a new program, internal meeting notes data relating to their hardware.

The upshot is that in just under a month, there were three recorded incidences of employees leaking sensitive information via ChatGPT. Since ChatGPT retains user input data to further train itself, these trade secrets from Samsung are now effectively in the hands of OpenAI, the company behind the AI service.

Samsung Electronics sent out a warning to its workers on the potential dangers of leaking confidential information in the wake of the incidents, saying that such data is impossible to retrieve as it is now stored on the servers belonging to OpenAI. In the semiconductor industry, where competition is fierce, any sort of data leak could spell disaster for the company in question.

Australia Just Banned TikTok on Government Devices. Is It Really Worse Than Google or Insta?

SBS News reported:

It was an app first derided as trivial and tedious, cast aside as the space reserved for dancing and internet trends. Now the app is banned from Australian government devices over security concerns. TikTok Australia has argued the video-sharing app, which attracts more than 1.3 global users, is being unfairly singled out.

An analysis by Australian cybersecurity firm Internet 2.0 stacked TikTok against its social media competitors — as well as other popular platforms — to understand whether the concern around TikTok was being overstated.

Tom Kenyon, a non-executive director of Internet 2.0, said the report’s findings confirm there is more than enough cause for concern. “TikTok is collecting a whole bunch of information that it doesn’t need to run its app,” he told The Feed.

TikTok also tracks what other apps you have running on your phone, has access to your clipboard which could contain passwords, logs your keystrokes, and collects location data so precise, it knows how high above sea level you are, Mr. Kenyon said. “TikTok takes more than anyone else.”