Tech Today: March 5, 2021

Tech Today: March 5, 2021

Here’s what you need to know about what happened in tech today:

Clubhouse sends your contacts’ phone numbers to their server
Thanks to Guilherme Rambo for doing this research! Popular iPhone-only audio chat app Clubhouse still requires and invitation to sign up – and that invitation can only be sent by allowing the Clubhouse app access to all your contacts. Guilherme looked at what Clubhouse is actually sending to the server when you give it access: The phone number of everyone in your contacts. While there aren’t any names attached, that could change at any time – and he points out in the thread that there are a number of other security issues in transport. Plus, why does Clubhouse need your friend’s phone numbers at all? They don’t, not to invite people. This is why I won’t invite anyone to Clubhouse. Sorry, but I respect the privacy of my contacts.

EFF: Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea
On Wednesday, this site mentioned Google’s new not-tracking tracking scheme, FLoC. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great write-up of why it’s still tracking, and how Google has framed the conversation as accepting one type of tracking vs another, instead of no tracking at all.

“In reality, it’s all rubbish” – Thermal temperature scanners don’t work
More security theater for COVID-19 prevention. The Washington Post has a report on the fever scanners that are appearing everywhere from your local salon to international airports. Turns out they don’t really work all that well. Peter Plassmann, a thermography expert, says “You point the camera at somebody, you get a nice colorful image and you get a temperature reading. Great. But in reality, it’s all rubbish.” Please, still, abide by COVID regulations, wear a mask, and don’t give front-desk staff a hard time because they’ve been told to use one of these.

Boycott Amazon: March 7 through March 13
From ucommblog: Don’t cross this virtual picket line. Avoid using Amazon or Amazon Prime for a week starting this Sunday. Amazon workers in Bessemer, AL have been in a struggle and are currently voting for unionization. Amazon has pulled out all the stops to discourage workers – including posting a website straight-up lies about what a union means. In solidarity, heed the call for a boycott and don’t shop Amazon for a week.