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BIG BROTHER: Popular Tele-Conference Company Zoom Hands Over Personal Data to Facebook

The Orwellian nightmare is really coming to life due to coronavirus.

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Zoom, a company that offers a popular video conferencing app that is taking off due to the coronavirus shutdown, is funneling the personal data of its users over to Facebook, as the service is weak on protecting the privacy rights of its customers.

VICE Motherboard analyzed Zoom’s iOS app for cell phones and determined that it was sending information to Facebook. This is because of Zoom’s use of Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) in order to improve the features on the app. This is a common way that Facebook funnels data from other apps into their systems to bolster their monopoly in the tech sector.

“That’s shocking. There is nothing in the privacy policy that addresses that,” said Pat Walshe, an activist from Privacy Matters who has analyzed Zoom’s privacy policy, to VICE reporters on Twitter.

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Zoom users are likely blissfully unaware of the app’s data-sharing agreement with Facebook. Facebook may be collecting data from individuals who do not even use their software, showing how the monolithic corporation’s tentacles are extremely pervasive and difficult for consumers to avoid.

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Facebook is informed anytime a Zoom user opens the app on their mobile phone. Facebook is also made aware of the cell phone model, the city and time zone the user is in while connecting, the phone carrier of the user while accessing the app, and a unique identifier that can be used to target the specific individual in an advertisement buy.

“I think users can ultimately decide how they feel about Zoom and other apps sending beacons to Facebook, even if there is no direct evidence of sensitive data being shared in current versions,” said Will Strafach, who founded the privacy-centered app Guardian, to VICE reporters.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) had previously discovered a similar relationship that Facebook has with Ring, an app-driven device that captures remote videos at a user’s home of who is at the door.

“Our testing, using Ring for Android version 3.21.1, revealed PII delivery to branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com. Facebook, via its Graph API, is alerted when the app is opened and upon device actions such as app deactivation after screen lock due to inactivity. Information delivered to Facebook (even if you don’t have a Facebook account) includes time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution, and a unique identifier (anon_id), which persists even when you reset the OS-level advertiser ID,” the EFF wrote earlier this year.

In addition to funneling privileged information to Facebook without it being listed in their privacy policy, Zoom does a poor job of protecting its users’ privacy rights for other reasons. The EFF notes that Zoom administrators can track whether its users are paying attention as well as access the IP address, location data, operating system and device information of users.

Even when they are not handing over information to Facebook in suspicious fashion, Zoom does little to protect its users from invasive measures.

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NASA Scientists In Antarctica Discover Possible Evidence Of Parallel Universe

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Scientists working on a NASA program in Antarctica reportedly observed a phenomenon which could be evidence of the existence of a parallel universe.

The program which led to this discovery in 2016 is called ANITA, or Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, which intended to study subatomic “ghost” particles that come from space by launching a balloon with antennae, taking advantage of the dry and relatively interference-free air above Antarctica.

The particles, called neutrinos, can be relatively low or high energy. If the former, they can actually pass through the solid matter of the earth entirely, but if the latter, they cannot. This means that high-energy neutrinos, known as tau neutrinos, would only ever be expected to be detected coming down from space.

However, what the researchers found which astounded them was tau neutrinos actually coming up from the earth. This incredibly rare and “billion-to-one” event might happen once, but it was observed several times, leaving scientists with limited possible explanations.

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One explanation, fantastical as it may seem, which was seriously proposed as a result was the possibility that these particles were from a parallel universe and traveling backward in time, explaining why they were observed coming up from the earth into space despite originating from space and being unable to pass through the planet.

This potential parallel universe, which would have been created in the Big Bang along with ours, is described as being a mirror image where everything, from our perspective, would be backwards: right and left, positive and negative, and the direction of time. To inhabitants of that universe, ours would likewise be running backwards.

This hypothesis was apparently seriously entertained according to published reports detailing the results of the NASA study. However, even supportive researchers noted that it was controversial and not accepted by all, though there have also been voices of favorability.

Alternate theories exist, such as that the unusual phenomena may be in some way caused by the nature of the Antarctic ice. Ultimately, however, even those criticizing the theory cannot rule it out.

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