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[dupe] Sex lives of app users 'shared with Facebook' (bbc.co.uk)
103 points by jfk13 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 28 comments






It pains me to see PhDs from all spheres of engineering and beyond getting funneled into a few companies, drawn by the easy money (for people not in the know, you can easily start your post-PhD career at a big corp with a salary of above 300K USD per year, and that is if you don't negotiate strongly), doing some variation of gradient descent and creating products that are absolutely immoral.

It's not just greed--there simply aren't that many other options.

Many fields now have postdocs but that's another 3-5 years, during which you'll make $50k/year, have limited job security, and may need to move. If your research works out well (good results, hot field, right connections with other researchers), you can join the fray that is the academic job market, and scrap for grants to hang onto the job. If it doesn't, it becomes harder and harder to stay a postdoc: fellowships are mostly limited to new PhDs, grants don't have enough room for non-student salaries, and institutional policies force you out.


Anyone would be drawn by "easy money" if they were swimming in debt.

To be fair, anyone would be drawn by that money even if they weren't swimming in debt. People need to realize that times are hard for a lot of people. USD300,000 is a lot of money to the vast majority of working Americans. Law of averages says that at least some of those Americans will be smart enough to get a PhD. So you're gonna have PhD's out there who, yes, will jump at the chance to make 300 bands.

>for people not in the know, you can easily start your post-PhD career at a big corp with a salary of above 300K USD per year, and that is if you don't negotiate strongly

I'm extremely skeptical that any PhD can "easily" obtain a salary of $300,000 without negotiation. Maybe 5+ years ago a few could, if they were ahead of the AI game. But what hiring manager would you be fooling today?

I'm sure there are a few PhDs here that will prove one of us wrong.

That said, I agree with your sentiment.


Where do you work, and are you sure there is nothing immoral at it?

This is the other side of the coin regarding the debate of whether Apple should build its own first party versions of these kinds of apps.

When Apple announced period tracking in its Health app, there was another round of articles of how Apple eats its own from the app store.

I mostly agree that it's problematic that Apple runs the App Store AND competes with other apps on it. But we have to take this sort of thing into consideration too.

But we have found again and again, that these third party apps have absolutely no data protections and will happily sell your data to other entities.

So if you want to track your period (and other such sensitive data) and not have your sex life sold to everyone, use the first party app. Even Apple can't see your data.


There's nothing stopping Apple (or any other app store vendor) from creating a middle ground, by requiring third parties to agree in advance to a strong set of data-handling and privacy rules in order to sell apps in their store. They could even periodically audit those third-party products; failure to live up to the terms the third party agreed to when they published the app would be pretty solid grounds for kicking them out of the store.

That stuff would cut into the planet-size hoard of profit Apple makes off the app store, though, so I wouldn't hold my breath.


Sure there is.

There are dozens of times when app developers say "oops" during a data sharing leak, either because they want to fake not having known that they were sharing data, or (probably more likely) they were using an SDK that itself was leaking tons of data that they didn't know they were signing up for.

Apple closes loopholes, the press cries about App Store dominance, app developers cry out, new rules are put in, and then they circumvent those rules. Rinse and repeat.


It would also be nearly impossible to enforce. How would Apple be able to verify that a company is complying with these terms? I don't think many companies would be happy to let Apple poke around in their backend, just as I don't think Apple wants to spend the resources to do that.

Edit: "impossible" -> "nearly impossible"


Write in compliance requirements with provisions for regular third party audits.

If personal data companies don’t start regulating themselves they will get it forced on them by the government. Financial, medical, and defense companies already do it.


> requiring third parties to agree in advance to a strong set of data-handling and privacy rules

Aka the Facebook model.. tldr: "developer, click here to promise to behave". Aka the "click here if you are 18 or older" model. Thanks Zuck, for giving us Cambridge Analytica.

What a bunch of effing liars. "We promise we keep your data secure" is yet another meaningless statement...


It sounds like we need something like Europe's GDPR. Of course, we'll never get that in America because it's anti-business.

I don't think the GDPR is anti-business at all. It's just pro-consumer. If your business model depends on playing loose with customer data, then that's a huge red flag about what you're doing anyway.

I try to shy away from blanket statements but this seems like a pretty good one :P


It's anti-businesses that have business models that depend on playing loose with customer data. For the pro-business people, they don't like that, because anything that's against just about any business is bad in their eyes; the only thing that's important to them is profit.

Or Apple can earn the 30% fee and simply prevent this behaviour during app submission.

Except the fee is charged from app developers, and in this case, supposedly 'earned' for the benefit of usrs.

...by blocking usage of Facebook SDKs? People would lose their minds!

Isn't that why Zuck invented Facebook in the first place?

"Facebook has announced it will launch a tool for users to stop apps and businesses sharing their data with the social network."

What a joke!!


The qualm here should be with the app developers, not Facebook. The app makers chose to use an advertisement company's SDK (Facebook) to monetize their app by sharing data and showing personalized adds.

Everyone knows thats facebook's whole business model and they aren't shy about it. If you're developing an app that collects personal data, its in your hands to make sure its shared appropriately.


The qualm should be with both. You should be upset with people selling poison as a health drink, and you should be upset with people reselling it as well.

Having initially been against GDPR (with hindsight that was a knee jerk reaction), I am now in favour of it. Many large companies have been able to collect data and use it as they liked with impunity. In the past, users have had limited rights when it came to their data and GDPR has changed that.

EDIT - wow I got downvoted for being in favour of GDPR!?


>wow I got downvoted for being in favour of GDPR!?

Absolutely, yes. Remember, this site is chock full of people in adtech, and the GDPR works directly against their employers' goals. Remember the old saying: "It is very difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it." On top of that, software people in the US skew disproportionately libertarian, and they think that any law curtailing business behavior, no matter how abhorrent, is bad and that we should rely on "the invisible hand" to regulate everything.


I think that many people who work in ad tech are in favour of GDPR. They have seen the mishandling of personal data on a massive scale first hand. This is true in my case.

There is a view out there that European regulation around data/tech is anti-American. A certain level of patriotism which wants to protects the profits of the nation's pride and joy.

I was sure this would be about cybersex on messenger. Oh, hey there kettle!



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