I write today on the subject of fraud. It’s a hearty perennial. No doubt fraud has been raising blood pressure since some no-good caveman slipped putrid buffalo meat to his neighbor in place of the day’s fresh kill.
As with many things progress-related, the situation is worsening. Consider this trenchant report by Erika Fry from Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference about the medical community’s efforts to simultaneously share and protect patient health information. Medical data is so sensitive, says Scripps Translational Science Institute director Eric Topol, that it goes for five times other types of purloined information on the so-called dark web.
Scamming is morphing for plain-vanilla e-commerce too. Justin Lie, CEO of the Singapore-based anti-fraud company CashShield, says stolen ride-hailing accounts are more valuable now than hacked credit card numbers. They can be sold, he says, for $30 on the dark web, compared with a mere $5 for credit card information. The reason is that the more mature credit card industry has built up controls and methods for combatting fraud. Newfangled online services lag, and “the technology hasn’t caught up,” says Lie.
In the case of health records, Fortune’s Fry reports that blockchain technology may be the answer for security. For online accounts, CashShield is pursuing machine-learning algorithms to thwart the scammers. Humans, it says, can’t keep up.
Where there is fraud there is commercial opportunity to stop it. And technology will lead the way.
Is it too late now to say sorry? After five days of silence, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg came out of hiding to address the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, which involved that firm’s improper acquisition of data for 50 million users. In addition to posting a note to his personal Facebook page, Zuckerberg spoke to several publications, including The New York Times, Wired, and CNN. In that last interview, Zuckerberg begrudgingly said he would be “happy to” testify before Congress “if it’s the right thing to do,” and said he was open to the possibility of more government regulation.
Stock rules everything around me. Tesla’s shareholders approved a whopper of a 10-year compensation package—perhaps the largest in business history—for CEO Elon Musk. About three-quarters of the electric carmaker’s investors approved of the award, which amounts to $2.6 billion, but could reach as high as $50 billion if Musk helps the company meet a number of ambitious financial goals. Musk will be required to stick around as either CEO or executive chairman and chief product officer for a decade as part of the terms.
I make money move. Naspers, a South African media company, is looking to cash out $10.6 billion worth of shares in Tencent, the Chinese Internet giant. In 2001, the Cape Town-based company presciently purchased a one-third stake in Tencent that now totals $175.6 billion based on the company’s present valuation. Naspers said it would put the proceeds toward other tech investments.
Fly like an eagle. Consumer drone-maker DJI is reportedly seeking to raise about $500 million in funding via new equity and debt ahead of a planned public market debut. If successful, the proposed round would bring the Chinese company’s valuation to $15 billion from its last private appraisal at $10 billion in 2015.
Shop ’til you drop. Best Buy is planning to stop selling Huawei devices, Reuters reports. The move comes amid fomenting trade and national security tensions between China and the U.S. If it comes to pass, Best Buy would be following the lead of AT&T, which earlier this year backed out of a deal to sell Huawei smartphones.
I’ve been working on the railroad. Google is quietly developing on blockchain-related technologies for its cloud business, Bloomberg reports. Alphabet has been a major corporate investor in digital ledger tech, but other cloud computing providers, like Microsoft and IBM, have taken an early lead in putting products in the hands of customers.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Should you actually #deletefacebook? In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica controversy, John Biggs, a tech writer, penned a personal essay for TechCrunch in which he discusses how he has been phasing out his use of the social network. “Facebook simply replaced the tools we once used to tell the world of our joys and sorrows and it replaced them with cheap knock-offs that make us less connected, not more,” he writes.
Facebook is using us. It is actively giving away our information. It is creating an echo chamber in the name of connection. It surfaces the divisive and destroys the real reason we began using social media in the first place – human connection.
It is a cancer.
I’ve begun the slow process of weaning myself off of the platform by methodically running a script that will delete my old content. And there’s a lot. There are likes and shares. There are long posts I wrote to impress my friends. There are thousands of WordPress notifications that tell the world what I’m doing. In fact, I would wager I use Facebook more to broadcast my ego than interact with real humans. And I suspect that most of us are in a similar situation.
If you really do wish to #deletefacebook, here’s our guide.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Video of Fatal Self-Driving Car Accident Shows Pedestrian’s Final Moments, by Verne Kopytoff
Apple Now Has More Self-Driving Car Permits Than Tesla, Uber, and Waymo, by Don Reisinger
The Night $1 Million in Crypto Began Raining From the Sky, by Jen Wieczner
Spotify’s First Investor on Why the Company’s Unusual IPO Makes Sense, by Polina Marinova
BEFORE YOU GO
When all you want is to be left alone. The government of Japan considers more than half a million of its residents to be hikikomori, or shut-ins, according to its most recent survey, published in 2016. Although the phenomenon is not unique to the island nation, it is, for cultural and other reasons, pronounced there. The Japan Times interviewed one 55-year-old recluse to learn more about his condition. The man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that during the go-go days of the ’80s, he had entertained lucrative job opportunities with top firms. “But I realized I had to conform forever when I got those job offers. I felt hopeless. I couldn’t wear a suit. I felt like my heart had broken,” he said.