Daily News Roundup

March 22, 2018

Politico

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in his first comments since the user-privacy crisis now engulfing the company broke, has admitted Facebook has made mistakes and outlined what it plans to do to restore trust with users, Reuter reports.

News broke last Friday that Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based political data-analytics firm hired by the 2016 Trump campaign, got its hands on data for 50 million Facebook users – without the users’ knowledge or consent.

“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago. But we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it,” Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Here’s what Zuckerberg said Facebook will do: First, it will investigate all apps that had access to “large amounts of information” before Facebook changed its platform to reduce data access in 2014.

Second, Facebook will restrict developers’ data access “even further to prevent other kinds of abuse,” according to Zuckerberg. For example, it will remove developers’ access to user data if you haven’t used their app in three months. Third, it will display a tool at the top of the News Feed with apps users have used and an easy way to revoke those apps’ permissions to your data.

Facebook says the researcher that supplied the data to Cambridge Analytica, going back to 2013, lied to Facebook and violated its policies. The company barred Cambridge Analytica and its parent company from using its platform, and also says it no longer allows third-party apps to captured data the way that was done in this case.

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A team of international health experts has accused the medical fraternity of “mismanaging” back pain and providing “ineffective and harmful” treatments, reports ABC news.

In three papers published in the esteemed Lancet medical journal, the Australian and international authors assert that low back pain has increased dramatically in recent years and is now the leading cause of disability globally.

They find there is an over-reliance on scans, surgeries and opioids prescriptions to treat a problem that could be more effectively addressed through self-management and less-invasive physical and psychological therapies.

Monash University researcher, Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, is the lead author of one of the three papers and said a radical shift in thinking was required.

“The burden from low back pain has reached a tipping point where the condition is growing rapidly, is poorly understood and is being mismanaged medically — at cost both to the patient and to the healthcare system,” she said.

“It’s a problem in Australia. A large number of people are receiving low-value care that wastes a lot of money, it’s ineffective and sometimes harmful.

“And at the same time they’re not receiving the evidence-based care that could actually help them.

“Both clinicians and the public have misconceptions that we can identify a cause and therefore we can treat something specific.”

Professor Buchbinder said back pain should not be treated as an “injury”, but as an issue that comes and goes and in many cases can be effectively managed.

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An unemployed 23-year-old man suspected of a three-week bombing campaign in Texas that killed two people and injured five others has blown himself up on the side of a highway, Reuter reports.

The suspect was identified as Mark Anthony Conditt of Pflugerville, Texas, according to the local CBS television station.

Scores of authorities have descended on the house where public records showed Conditt lived.

On Wednesday afternoon police ordered residents living within five blocks of the structure to evacuate as they continued to search the house.

A series of bombings beginning on March 2 left Austin, on edge as the bomber moved from parcels left on doorsteps to one activated by a tripwire to at least two sent via FedEx.

Police eventually tracked him to a hotel about 32 km north of Austin and were following his vehicle when he pulled to the side of the road and detonated a device, killing himself, Austin police chief Brian Manley said.

“The suspect is deceased and has significant injuries from a blast that occurred from detonating a bomb inside his vehicle,” he said.

“We’ve known for a couple of days who the suspect likely was,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Fox News.

Public records showed that Conditt lived with his parents, William and Danene Conditt, until 2017, when he moved into a house nearby.

Manley said the suspect was believed to be responsible for six bombs around Austin and in Schertz, near San Antonio, all but one of which detonated.

He said the motivation for the bombings or whether the suspect had help was not yet known.

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