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Sunday, 19 June 2022

The most recent climate conference bodes ill for COP27 + Meta is still gathering your data from all over the internet and businesses are to blame

A bad omen for COP27? The Bonn Climate Change Conference, during which the international community was supposed to prepare the agenda and decisions for adoption at COP27 later this year, ended last week with plenty of tension and little consensus, observers told the Financial Times. Financing was again at the heart of the disagreements: Accusations of betrayal were flung about as richer countries refused to cough up the funding poor nations say they need to mitigate the damage caused by climate change. Meanwhile, the US and EU once again pushed back against requests for a new loss and damage financing facility, reflecting their inability to “recognize their responsibility to have a frank discussion about what needs to be fixed to truly tackle loss and damage,” one climate expert told the FT.

This cranks up the pressure on Egypt to ensure COP27 addresses the issue of loss and damage financing. “Major political decisions, notably on finance for loss and damage, need to be taken at COP27 … We now need to ensure that Sharm el Sheikh will truly be the place where important promises of the Paris Agreement are turned into reality,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said. The good news is that financing — particularly innovative financing tools, such as concessional lending — will be a core theme at COP27, International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat has said.

Meta has found a new way to gather data from all over the internet… and with none of the accountability: After the Facebook parent company faced what seemed like a never-ending line of privacy-related litigations, Meta still found a way to gather user data from the broader corners of the internet, according to the Markup. Meta has made its Pixel tracker available without charge to developers worldwide to embed into their business websites and gain valuable information such as user behavior on the site and their Facebook or Instagram pages. However, Pixel also gathers information and sends it back to Meta, with the blame now falling on the businesses who have failed to do enough research to protect their users.

The Markup has created a series of studies that show just how much access to sensitive information Meta has obtained through Pixel, with everything from hospitals to student aid offices having unwittingly provided Meta with much of their data. In their hospital investigation, for example, the Markup found that a third of the top 100 hospitals in the US were using Pixel, supplying Meta with data such as the patient’s name, the time and date of their appointment, which doctor they were seeing, and even what medication they were prescribed. This violation of user privacy is often caused by a lack of technological understanding or reading the fine print before deploying Pixel on business websites.

As crypto faces a global sell-off, questions are arising on whether the sector needs to adopt a failsafe for its investors: One of the main dark spots in crypto’s short-lived legacy is the lack of regulation in the industry which could theoretically lead to users losing access to their crypto in the case of bankruptcy. In the wake of a number of crypto exchanges crashing, Vox poses the potential of crypto ins., which is slowly emerging in the startup world to protect crypto investors’ assets. However, crypto ins. is still nascent and the majority of activity remains uninsured. There’s also a lack of transparency as to what is covered and even if a crypto platform is insured, there’s no certainty that individual crypto holders are fully protected. Nonetheless, in light of the current market turmoil, if crypto is to survive, there could soon be more failsafes in place to protect part of users’ investments.

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