Driverless Semi Trucks

Weyman Holton
Jun 18, 2019 · 7 min read

Facebook Monetizes Users / Zero Day Flaw For WiFi Maker / Biometric Hesitation / Volvo Self-Driving Truck Partnership

Photo by TimSon Foox from Pexels

Josh Constine writes: Facebook announces Libra cryptocurrency: All you need to know

Facebook has finally revealed the details of its cryptocurrency Libra, which will let you buy things or send money to people with nearly zero fees. You’ll pseudonymously buy or cash out your Libra online or at local exchange points like grocery stores, and spend it using interoperable third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger, and its own app. Today Facebook released its white paper explaining Libra and its testnet for working out the kinks of its blockchain system before a public launch in the first half of 2020.

Facebook won’t fully control Libra, but instead get just a single vote in its governance like other founding members of the Libra Association including Visa,Uber, and Andreessen Horowitz who’ve invested at least $10 million each into the project’s operations. The association will promote the open-sourced Libra blockchain and developer platform with its own Move programming language plus sign up businesses to accept Libra for payment and even give customers discounts or rewards.

Facebook is launching a subsidiary company also called Calibra that handles its crypto dealings and protects users’ privacy by never mingling your Libra payments with your Facebook data so it can’t be used for ad targeting. Your real identity won’t be tied to your publicly visible transactions. But Facebook/Calibra and other founding members of the Libra Association will earn interest on the money users cash in that is held in reserve to keep the value of Libra stable.

Facebook’s audacious bid to create a global digital currency that promotes financial inclusion for the unbanked actually has more privacy and decentralization built in than many expected. Instead of trying to dominate Libra’s future or squeeze tons of cash out of it immediately, Facebook is instead playing the long-game by pulling payments into its online domain. Facebook’s VP of blockchain David Marcus explains the company’s motive and the tie-in with its core revenue source, telling me “if more commerce happens, then more small business will sell more on and off platform, and they’ll want to buy more ads on the platform so it will be good for our ads business.”

You can read the whole story over at TechCrunch.

This move into banking might be a bigger challenge than they think. Facebook has not proven to be good conservators of information, broken open like an tanker spilling oily details of private lives in the internet sea. Why would anyone trust them with payment transactions? I think they will find this will be a prime platform for money laundering, dirty payments to illegal labor and an easier way to move credits across borders. In this system you’ll find an underclass who don’t understand equity and live in the gig/rental economy at the mercy of trends. It short-circuits the Fed-based banks and fiat currency and the FICO oriented social scoring that locks many out of lending by automaton. Facebook’s partnering with the consumer-end clearinghouses of Paypal and Visa and over a hundred others will challenge Apple Pay and Samsung Pay immediately. Are they leveraging the systems they developed abroad? It also sets the stage for a powerhouse discussion. Should Big Tech be broken up as Elizabeth Warren suggests? And will this help drive the dialog in her campaign against #Trump2020 going forward? We will see.

Pierluigi Paganini writes: Expert found a critical RCE zero-day in TP-Link Wi-Fi Extenders

A zero-day vulnerability affects multiple models of TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders, it could be exploited to remotely execute code. Security expert Grzegorz Wypych from IBM X-Force found a zero-day flaw that affects multiple models of TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders.

Read the details at Security Affairs.

TP-Link is a low-cost consumer brand that often needs to be re-flashed from its original factory settings because vulnerabilities are later discovered. WiFi extenders basically capture signal from your main router and provide a new hotspot for a location where the signal is too weak. If you have purchased TP-Link equipment, it’s time to upgrade them or replace them with something hardier.

Dan Raywood writes: …Biometrics Are Authentication Preference, Privacy Concerns Remain

Biometrics are seen as a positive step forward in authentication, but employees maintain privacy concerns.

According to a survey of 4013 workers across the UK, France and the Netherlands, the Okta Passwordless Future Report found that 78% of respondents use an insecure method to help them remember their password, including: using the same passwords for multiple accounts (34%), writing passwords down (26%), 17% typing passwords on a phone or computer (17%) and using well-known passwords (6%).

Dr Maria Bada, research associate at Cambridge University, said: “Passwords are often quite revealing. They are created on the spot, so users might choose something that is readily to mind or something with emotional significance.

“Passwords tap into things that are just below the surface of consciousness. Criminals take advantage of this and with a little research they can easily guess a password.”

The research also found that 70% of respondents believe biometrics would benefit the workplace, but 86% have some reservations about sharing biometrics with employers.

… Dr Bada said: “Biometric technology can be promising in creating a passwordless future, but it’s essential to create an environment of trust, while ensuring privacy and personal data protection.’’

You can read this and other great articles about this topic from Info Security.

Biometrics are great for a quick verification for re-logging in after a snoozing access, like say a bathroom break in a call center. But it doesn’t make a great solution on its own. Passwords can be changed when you believe they have been compromised. We can’t just change our fingerprints or eyeball. We need to consider multiple factor authentication for all systems and not be reliant on any magic bullet. At minimum, let’s look at behavioral, geographic, device, and routine to make security smarter with unique logins at every portal to protect data and limit compromise.

Let’s also ask if unique, identifying medical data should be used at all.

Darrell Etherington: Volvo teams up with Nvidia to develop self-driving commercial and industrial trucks

Volvo and Nvidia announced a new partnership today aimed at developing the next-generation decision-making engine for Volvo Group’s fully autonomous commercial trucks and industrial service vehicles. The partnership will use Nvidia’s Drive artificial intelligence platform, which encompasses processing data from sensors, perception systems, localization, mapping and path prediction and planning.

Volvo already has some freight vehicles with autonomous technology on board in early service, but these are deployed in tightly controlled environments and operate supervised, as at the Swedish port of Gothenburg. The partnership between Nvidia and Volvo Group is intended to help not only test and deploy a range of autonomous vehicles with AI decision-making capabilities on board, but also eventually ensure these commercial vehicles can operate on their own on public roads and highways.

Transport freight is only one target for the new joint effort — Nvidia and Volvo will also seek to build autonomous systems and vehicles that can handle garbage and recycling pickup, operate on construction sites, at mines, and in the forestry industry, too. Nvidia notes on its blog that its solution will help address soaring demand for global shipping, driven by increased demand for consumer package delivery. It’ll also cover smaller-scale use cases such as on-site port freight management.

The agreement between the two companies will span multiple years, and will involve teams from both companies sharing space both in Volvo’s HQ of Gothenburg, and Nvidia’s hometown of Santa Clara, California.

Nvidia has done plenty with autonomous trucking in the past, including an investment in Chinese self-driving trucking startup TuSimple, powering the intelligence of the fully driverless Einride transport vehicle and working with Uber on its ATG-driven truck business.

Discover more about this story over at Engadget.

Nvidia has been deeply involved in games and video cards for years. I can’t help but wonder if millions of hours of gamer play, feeding back information about how to deal with driving, has been harvested into the data lake which forms the basis of driving in the machine learning world. I sure hope not. Do we want roleplay as a pedestrian-killing thug from Grand Theft Auto to teach a semi-truck to drive? Nope!

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Your Tech Moment™

Commentary on technology, telecom & security in our information age

Weyman Holton

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author of “The Dirty Deeds Playbook” out now in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

Your Tech Moment™

Commentary on technology, telecom & security in our information age

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