…Steps up investment in Africa
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV is ramping up investment in Africa after seeing a boom in demand for its beer on the continent, building on the Budweiser owner’s $106 billion takeover of SABMiller in 2016.
Shipments in the region excluding South Africa increased by as much as 20 per cent in 2017, putting it among the fastest-growing territories for the world’s biggest brewer. Premium brands like Stella Artois and Corona are growing in popularity in South Africa, according to regional Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Tadeu.
“We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the continent this past year, most notably $200 million in South Africa,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
AB InBev cited Africa as a major factor in the decision to buy SABMiller, which has its roots selling beer to miners in 19th century Johannesburg. Jorge Paulo Lemann, one of AB InBev’s billionaire shareholders, said last year that the continent’s rapid urbanization and warm climate could eventually see it overtake the U.S. in beer sales. Rival companies agree, and Heineken NV has hired hundreds of sales staff and invested in growing markets such as Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Rwanda since the SABMiller deal.
Challenges include the impact of weaker oil and commodity prices on key economies including Nigeria and Angola. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Heineken has closed facilities and taken a write down due to high taxes and an economic slump last year, while Nestle SA left the country altogether.
AB InBev is building a brewery in Nigeria that will start production by mid-2018. However, there are no plans to add more as the company is able to grow on the back of existing operations, Tadeu said.
The company said it will start distributing its flagship Budweiser brand in South Africa this year and introduce an alcohol-free version of SABMiller’s Castle brand. Castle Lite, South Africa’s biggest selling lager, remains popular, Tadeu said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in South Africa advanced 21 per cent last year, even as the brewer had to deal with the effects of a crippling drought at its Newlands brewery in Cape Town.
AB InBev’s overall fourth-quarter revenue rose 8.2 per cent, beating the average analyst estimate for 5.3 per cent growth, it said Thursday. The Leuven, Belgium-based company produces a third of the world’s beer.
APC crisis: NWC splits
he National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is said to be in disarray, as members are said to have split into different camps.
The factionalisation of members stemmed from the fallouts of the last general elections and the leadership style of the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Some members were said to have benefitted immensely from the primaries of the party, while others lost out.
Those who didn’t benefitt are the ones revolting in their states against the national leadership of the party, a source said.
Such revolts have led to the Sokoto and Zamfara states’ organs of APC alleging anti-party activities against the National Vice Chairman (North West), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir and Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu.
The Sokoto State organs of APC recently expelled Abdulkadir and the National Leadership on Thursday upheld the expulsion. The APC Disciplinary Committee had sent an invitation to Abdulkadir to appear before it, but he had refused to honour the invitation of the Committee, led by the Deputy National Chairman (South), Chief Niyi Adebayo.
Abdulkadir is in court in Sokoto State against APC, challenging his expulsion by the Sokoto State organs of APC when the NWC upheld his expulsion.
Also, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, is against the leadership style of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and some other National Working Committee members.
In fact, Shuiabu was the first person that brought the crisis in the NWC to the fore with his letter to Oshiomhole, asking him to resign as National Chairman for the poor performance of APC in the last general elections.
Oshiomhole is said to be working with the Deputy National Chairman (South), National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu; National Treasurer, Hon. Panda and National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu.
However, other NWC members are forming alliance with others or they are staying on their own.
One of such NWC member working alone is the APC National Legal Adviser, Mr. Babatunde Ogala. He had also written a letter to the National Chairman, accusing him of usurping his functions.
According to a party source, the division in the party might lead to its losing the governorship election in Kogi, Edo and Ondo states slated for this year and 2020.
Already, there is a face-off between the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and the governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
Both Oshiomhole and his supporters and the governor of Edo State are at each other’s throats ahead of the party’s governorship ticket in the next year’s election.
The fight between the APC National Chairman and the governor of Edo State naturally has divided the APC members from the state and at the national level.
This also has triggered state assembly crisis, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila asking the Inspector General of Police and Director General of DSS to seal Edo State House of Assembly complex.
The same could be said about Kogi and Ondo states as party members are said to be divided along the line of loyalty.
The division in the state party ahead of governorship election is capable of making the APC to lose those elections, said a party member.
Speaking on the crisis in the Edo State APC, former governor of Cross River State, Chief Clement Ebri, said this is the time President Muhammadu Buhari should intervene.
In his view, it would be shameful and disgraceful if the infighting in Edo State should cause APC to lose the state to opposition.
According to Ebri, Edo State is the only state APC has in the whole of South East and South South and should be well-guided.
Speaking on the crisis between the APC National Chairman and the governor of Edo State, Ebri said: “l call on Mr. President to intervene and arrest the situation. For us from the South South and South East, this is very important as the state is the only state governed by APC in the two zones.
“We should be talking about how to increase the number of states in these zones rather than indulging in the things that would make us lose the one we have.
“l want to sincerely call on all well-meaning members of the APC to intervene on the crisis in Edo State and save the party in the two zones. “
The Kogi State APC crisis is also between the governor and other party members from the state including the National Women’s Leader, Hajiya Salamatu Baiwa.
According to a party source, the governor is working against the Women’s Leader being appointed as minister, while Hajiya Baiwa is also working against the governor securing his second term APC governorship ticket.
The effect of the APC crisis in Kogi State is to the extent that some stakeholders have gone to court to challenge the decision of the APC NWC to adopt indirect mode of primaries for the party’s governorship ticket.
Some APC governorship aspirants in Kogi State had said if the national leadership did not rescind its decision to adopt indirect primaries, the party might experience what happened in Zamfara State in the state.
It would be recall that because of internal crisis in Zamfara State APC during the primaries, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the election petition.
In Ondo State, the chieftains of the party in the state and outside the state are ganging up against the governor, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu.
They are moving to replace the governor with the Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Ajayi Borrofice or with the candidate of the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Segun Abraham.
Abraham came second in the last APC governorship primaries that brought Akeredolu as governor of Ondo State.
It would be recalled that New Telegraph had reported that the national leadership of APC was planning to rebuild the party and restore confidence of members by injecting about 50 members into the Working Committee.
The APC state chairmen had after their meeting in Abuja told newsmen that the state Chairmen were passionate about ensuring that the party gained more grounds ahead of the 2023 elections.
Insecurity: Osinbajo confers with S’West monarchs
ice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday held consultations with the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Ajayi, as well as other monarchs in Ogun.
The consultations were on the way out of the security challenges currently confronting Nigeria.
Osinbajo was accompanied to the palace of Ajayi by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.
The Vice President, who fielded questions from newsmen after the meeting, said the meeting was on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“As you know, there are many significant security concerns all over the country, and there are concerns also in the Southwest.
“So, I am here on the instruction of the President to consult with the traditional ruler, the governor and others on what to do to beef up security and to generally improve the security architecture.
“Of course, you know that Kabiyesi is not just a traditional ruler, but a very important part of the government.
“That is why we are here; to talk to him and agree on few modalities for beefing up security; and ensuring that we are fully conscious of all that is going on, just to be sure that peace and security reigns here and across the country.
“I think for all of us, the most important thing to realise is that we are one Nigeria; we are one country; we need to work together to ensure that it is peaceful, secured and happy for all of us,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria had the potential to give its citizens all they desired.
Osinbajo, however, said that some people were working against the interest of the country by trying to cause instability.
He expressed optimism that by God’s grace, Nigeria would overcome all its problems and set itself on the path of peace and prosperity.
The Vice President, in company of Abiodun, then proceeded to Ijebu Ode, where he also held a private meeting with the Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
Speaking with newsmen after, Osinbajo said that Awujale was one of the most important voices in the Southwest.
He said they had discussed on the very important steps to take in order to improve the security architecture generally.
According to him, the monarch has given a lot of insight; his own views, on what needs to be done, how to go about it; and what has been done already.
“But very importantly, it is his commitment to ensuring that there is peace and security, and that everybody lives in peace with one another and maintains the highest level of security.
“We are consulting with many of the traditional rulers across the country, but there are concerns in the Southwest now.
“I will be in Osun on Tuesday; we are going to go round to see the Alake, the Ooni and other traditional rulers, and primarily, they themselves want to participate in improving the security architecture.
“The President has spoken about the role of traditional rulers in maintaining peace and security in their own localities.
“As we know, they are the closest to the grassroots; the closest to their communities.
“One of the critical things we expect with our community policing efforts is some integration between the traditional rulers, the community and police; and efforts they are making to improve intelligence; and we need to understand what is going on.
“We need to know who is where and what exactly is happening all around so they can be transmitted to the more formal security agencies such as the police and the army, depending on where and what the situation is,” he said.
The Vice President had earlier attended the installation of 90-year-old Chief Emmanuel Osibona as the Father of the Church, ‘Baba Ijo’, of Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne, Ogun, his hometown.
Fulani shouldn’t be asked to leave south, says ex-security adviser
former Security Adviser in Cross River, Mr Jude Ngaji, yesterday said it is not right to ask the Fulani residing in the south to relocate to the north because of the activities of killer herdsmen.
He said Fulani herdsmen had lived peacefully with communities in the south over the years, alleging that those responsible for banditry and other forms of crimes were from Niger.
Ngaji, who spoke in an interview, also said that the fight against Boko Haram and banditry is not being overcome because the insurgents seem to have more intelligence report at their disposal than the military.
According to the former State Security Adviser,it is not right to ask the Fulani people to leave the south.
He said: “By the time we begin to encourage such movements from north to south and south to north, it will not augur well. These Fulani people we are talking about, we have lived together with them in the south for a very long time.
“I believe they are not the same people that we knew when growing up that are committing these criminalities. Most of the Fulani people you find in the south now are from Niger and they have come in their numbers due to our porous borders.”
Speaking on the information gathering, Ngaji advised all the arms of the Nigeria military to synergise with the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police in order to gather the much needed intelligence that would help tackle the rising wave of insecurity across the country.
Ngaji said the increasing spate of insecurity was as a result of the collapse in intelligence gathering, while on the other hand the insurgents have become more savvy in gathering intelligence gathering.
“The security situations in the six geo-political zones are different and one major factor responsible for the increasing spate of insecurity is the collapse of intelligence gathering. There is no real collaboration among all the security agencies, whereas the insurgents, Boko Haram and armed herdsmen, have become more savvy in intelligence gathering than the military.
“That is why they are succeeding. There should be a serious engagement amongst the segments of the Nigerian military, the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police for us to effectively tackle the security challenges.
“Intelligence is strictly lacking. The military and other security agencies will need to inject a lot of surveillance team to be among the people in order to get to the root of the matter. Once that intelligence gathering channel is established, I am convinced that we would be able to address this challenge,” he said.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to consider having security advisers in all the six geo-political zones for effective monitoring.
“I also think that the President should have security advisers in the geo-political zones because of the peculiarity of the zones in order to effectively monitor the security situation in the country. These zonal security advisers will be answerable to the National Security Adviser. This is because the NSA cannot get details of what happens in the six geo-political zones and 36 states every day.
“I want to commend the president so far, but segmenting the office of security adviser into different zones will help by reporting to the national security action. The whole attention has been on Fulani herdsmen but that is far from other criminal activities that must be eradicated,” he added.
COZA: Police invite Timi Dakolo, wife to Abuja for ‘criminal conspiracy’
- ’We can’t be intimidated’
There has been a twist in the tale of rape accusation by Busola Dakolo against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), as the police sent separate invitations to Busola and her husband, Timi Dakolo on Saturday.
The invitation letters, which were delivered at the Lekki residence of the Dakolos around 6pm, may not be unconnected with rape allegation by Busola against founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
The invitations which
were delivered at the couple’s home in Lagos yesterday came from police headquarters in Abuja. The officers came in a van with number plate BR932KSF.
They were signed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kolo Yusuf, Special Tactical Squad Force Headquarters, Abuja and asked the couple to report for interrogation on Tuesday by 10 a.m. to face questioning over a case of “criminal conspiracy, falsehood, mischief and threat to life”.
The letter reads: “This office is investigating a case of criminal conspiracy, falsehood, mischief and threat to life in which your name was mentioned. You are kindly requested to interview the undersigned officer on 23/07/2019 by 1000hr for fact finding through DSP, Ibrahim Agu.”
Sources at the Dakolo residence said the policemen, numbering three, were trying to force the Dakolo’s to go to Abuja against their will.
In a swift reaction, Timi via his instagram said that he would never allow Police officers to intimidate his wife, children or any member of his family.
His words, “Our lawyers had told us to get ready for this letter. We have long been ready for this type of institutionalized intimidation and dirtiness. Investigating officials have frustrated as a result of underhand delay? Dirty bloggers are fabricating things that cover the truth, going to the IG’s people under dark to force this case to be posted to Abuja?
Suicide: Public Health experts call for increased mental health education
Public Health experts have called for increased mental awareness and education to help reduce rising cases of depression and suicide in Nigeria. They made the call while speaking across various platforms on recent suicide cases in Nigeria, suggesting actions to reduce the occurrences.
Speaking on a radio programme, Dr. Chinomso Egemba, a global health advocate who works with Avon medical practice, identified depression as a major cause of suicide.
Egemba described depression as a medical condition, a psychological state of unhappiness or low morale, which lasts longer than several weeks. It may include ideation of self-inflicted injury or in extreme case, suicide.
According to Egemba, depression is usually caused by a decrease in the level of serotonin, a chemical in the brain, which serves as a contributor to feelings of well-being, and happiness in human. She therefore advocated for an increased awareness and education from the government and the private sector.
“We have to call on the bodies responsible which includes the government to increase the level of mental health awareness in Nigeria and set up toll free lines and counseling centers across the nation so that people battling depression can call or visit for help” Egemba advised.
In her remarks on another health programme, another expert, Dr. Chioma Nwakanma, a public health advocate and digital media strategist, said common health problems such as depression and anxiety affect one in four people and it may not be easy to notice.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tajudeen Abiola, a neuro-psychiatrist with the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna, advocated for deliberate education and awareness programme to increase the awareness and level of understanding around what constitutes mental health issues. By this, friends and families may quickly identify the indicators and take the necessary steps.
APGA intact, different from Abia First
The Abia State Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance( APGA),Rev Augustine Ehiemere has said that there is no faction in the party both at the state and national level, adding that there is a difference between the party and ‘Abia First’, the political vanguard of the governorship candidate of APGA in the 2019 governorship election in the state, Dr Alex Otti.
Fielding questions from reporters in Umuahia over the existence of a parallel faction led by Hon Nkem Okoro, Ehiemere said the clarification became necessary to clear the confusion that may arise from the misconception people have over the party’s leadership structure.
He explained that there is no faction in APGA either in Abia or Nigeria, saying the purported “Okoro’s faction is Dr Alex Otti political structure for 2015 and 2019 governorship elections and therefore cannot be equated to the leadership of the party in the state.”
Rev Ehiemere pointed out that ‘Abia First’ which he described as the campaign organisation of Dr Alex Otti, can never be said to be the same thing with Abia APGA.
He stated that he is the authentic chairman of state chapter of APGA with his State Working Committee (SWC); whose members emerged in a transparent congress supervised by INEC. “Therefore, any other group parading itself as APGA in Abia State is fake and should be discountenanced.”
Rev Ehiemere however called on Nigerians to be wary of the antics of Dr Alex Otti’ group, who he said were deceiving the public with a non existent faction, noting that they were operating ‘Abia First’ which cannot be the same thing with the party in the state under his leadership.
Also, the Abia State secretary of APGA, Elder Sunday Onukwubiri has said that there is no leadership tussle in the party in the state, adding that the party is united under Rev Ehiemere at the state level while Ozomkpu Victor Ike Oye is the undisputed National Chairman of the party to whom they are well pleased.
Elder Onukwubiri insisted that the Governorship candidate of the party in the 2015 and 2019 elections Dr Alex Otti remained “ suspended by the party because of his anti-party activities, and if he feels otherwise, let him go to the national leadership of APGA and complain. The Otti’s faction is made up of ‘Abia First’, while the leadership of APGA in the state is under Ehiemere, the public should not take the disgruntled group serious,” he said.
Airport security breach: FAAN identifies intruder as Nigerien
Set to build observation towers at aerodromes
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has revealed the identity of the intruder who climbed an Azman aircraft taxing for takeoff at the Lagos Airport on Friday as Mr. Usman Adamu suspected to be from the Republic of Niger. This is just as the Authority has taken full responsibility of what it described as an “embarrassment”.
Speaking on the unfortunate incident at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Managing Director of the Authority, Captain Hamisu Yadudu at a press conference held at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano today, said the violator, had been handed over to the Nigerian Police Force for further interrogation.
Yadudu noted that, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Transport and Minister of State, Aviation had already assisted in the award of contracts for perimeter fences at the airports, including detection devices and CCTV cameras with infrared capacity for night operations.
He added that plans are also underway to erect observation towers this year, so as to enable proper monitoring and coverage of the airport, assuring travellers and airport users that new measures were already being put in place to enhance security at the nation’s airports. He explained that already, FAAN had a security patrol/escort team in place for arriving and departing aircraft but another joint patrol team involving FAAN AVSEC, the Police and the Military have also been constituted to assist in protecting the sanctity of our airside and ensuring the security of live operations and the travelling public using our facilities.
The FAAN boss admitted that, globally, new threats were springing up daily and the criminal elements were fashioning out ways to circumvent security architectures but promised that FAAN would continue to work with relevant stakeholders and the regulatory agencies towards ensuring safe operations at our airports. He, however, added that it was up to FAAN to continuously improve on security and put adequate measures in place to mitigate the threats.
Web browsers’ ‘stealing’ and selling peoples’ data
As many as 4 million people have Web browser extensions that sell their every click. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve watched you check in for a flight and seen your doctor refilling a prescription.
I’ve peeked inside corporate networks at reports on faulty rockets. If I wanted, I could’ve even opened a tax return you only shared with your accountant.
I found your data because it’s for sale online. Even more terrifying: It’s happening because of software you probably installed yourself.
My latest investigation into the secret life of our data is not a fire drill. Working with an independent security researcher, I found as many as 4 million people have been leaking personal and corporate secrets through Chrome and Firefox. Even a colleague in The Washington Post’s newsroom got caught up. When we told browser makers Google and Mozilla, they shut these leaks immediately — but we probably identified only a fraction of the problem.
The root of this privacy train wreck is browser extensions. Also known as add-ons and plug-ins, they’re little programs used by nearly half of all desktop Web surfers to make browsing better, such as finding coupons or remembering passwords. People install them assuming that any software offered in a store run by Chrome or Firefox has got to be legit.
Not. At. All. Some extensions have a side hustle in spying. From a privileged perch in your browser, they pass information about where you surf and what you view into a murky data economy. Think about everything you do in your browser at work and home — it’s a digital proxy for your brain. Now imagine those clicks beaming out of your computer to be harvested for marketers, data brokers or hackers.
Some extensions make surveillance sound like a sweet deal: Recently, Amazon was offering people $10 (N 3,580) to install its Assistant extension. In the fine print, Amazon said the extension collects your browsing history and what’s on the pages you view, though all that data stays inside the giant company. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) Academic researchers say there are thousands of extensions that gather browsing data — many with loose or downright deceptive data practices — lurking in the online stores of Google and even the more privacy-friendly Mozilla.
The extensions we found selling your data show just how dangerous browser surveillance can be. What’s unusual about this leak is that we got to watch it taking place. This isn’t a theoretical privacy problem: Here’s exactly how millions of people’s data got grabbed and sold — and the failed safeguards from browser makers that let it happen.
A ‘catastrophic’ leak
I didn’t realize the scale of the extension problem until I heard from Sam Jadali. He runs a website hosting business, and earlier this year found some of his clients’ data for sale online. Figuring out how that happened became a six-month obsession.
Jadali found the data on a website called Nacho Analytics. Just one small player in the data economy, Nacho bills itself on its website as a marketing intelligence service. It offers data about what’s being clicked on at almost any website — including actual Web addresses — for as little as $49 (N 17,542) per month.
That data, Nacho claims, comes from people who opt in to being tracked, and it redacts personally identifiable information.
The deeper Jadali looked on Nacho, the more he found that went way beyond marketing data. Web addresses — everything you see after the letters “http” — page titles and other browsing records might not seem like they’d expose much. But sometimes they contain secrets sites forget to hide away.
Jadali found usernames, passwords and GPS coordinates, even though Nacho said it scrubs personal information from its data. “I started realizing this was a leak on a catastrophic scale,” Jadali told me.
What he showed me made my jaw drop. Three examples:
*From DrChrono, a medical records service, we saw the names of patients, doctors, and even medications. From another service, called Kareo, we saw patient names.
*From Southwest, we saw the first and last names, as well as confirmation numbers, of people checking into flights. From United, we saw last names and passenger record numbers.
*From OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, we saw a hundred documents named “tax.” We didn’t click on any of these links to avoid further exposing sensitive data.
It wasn’t just personal secrets. Employees from more than 50 major corporations were exposing what they were working on (including top-secret stuff) in the titles of memos and project reports. There was even information about internal corporate networks and firewall codes. This should make IT security departments very nervous.
Jadali documented his findings in a report titled “DataSpii,” and has spent the last two weeks disclosing the leaks to the companies he identified — many of which he thinks could do a better job keeping secrets out of at-risk browser data. I also contacted all the companies I name in this column. Kareo and Southwest told me they’re removing names from page data.
I wondered if Jadali could find any data from inside The Washington Post. Shortly after I asked, Jadali asked me if I had a colleague named Nick Mourtoupalas. On Nacho, Jadali could see him clicking on our internal websites. Mourtoupalas had just viewed a page about the summer interns. Over months, he’d probably leaked much, much more.
I called up Mourtoupalas, a newsroom copy aide. Pardon the interruption, I said, but your browser is leaking.
“Oh, wow, oh, wow,” Mourtoupalas said. He hadn’t ever “opted in” to having his Web browsing tracked. “What have I done wrong?”
I asked Mourtoupalas if he’d ever added anything to Chrome. He pulled up his extensions dashboard and found he’d installed 17 of them. “I didn’t download anything crazy or shady looking,” he said.
One of them was called Hover Zoom. It markets itself in the Chrome Web Store and its website as a way to enlarge photos when you put your mouse over them. Mourtoupalas remembered learning about it on Reddit. Earlier this year, it had 800,000 users.
When you install Hover Zoom, a message pops up saying it can “read and change your browsing history.” There’s little indication Hover Zoom is in the business of selling that data.
The Chrome extension Hover Zoom flags it can read your data, but not how it makes money.
I tried to reach all the contacts I could find for Hover Zoom’s makers. One person, Romain Vallet, told me he hadn’t been its owner for several years, but declined to say who was now. No one else replied.
Jadali tested the links between extensions and Nacho by installing a bunch himself and watching to see if his data appeared for sale. We did some of these together, with me as a willing victim. After I installed an extension called PanelMeasurement, Jadali showed me how he could access private iPhone and Facebook photos I’d opened in Chrome, as well as a OneDrive document I had named “Geoff’s Private Document.” (To find the latter, all he had to do was search page titles on Nacho for “Geoff.”)
In total, Jadali’s research identified six suspect Chrome and Firefox extensions with more than a few users: Hover Zoom, SpeakIt!, SuperZoom, SaveFrom.net Helper, FairShare Unlock and PanelMeasurement.
They all state in either their terms of service, privacy policies or descriptions that they may collect data. But only two of them — FairShare Unlock and PanelMeasurement — explicitly highlight to users that they collect browser activity data and promise to reward people for surfing the Web.
“If I’ve fallen in for using this extension, I know hundreds of thousands of other people easily have also,” Mourtoupalas told me. He’s now turned off all but three extensions, each from a well-known company.
The tip of the iceberg
After we disclosed the leaks to browser makers, Google remotely deactivated seven extensions, and Mozilla did the same to two others (in addition to one it disabled in February). Together, they had tallied more than 4 million users. If you had any of them installed, they should no longer work.
A firm called DDMR that made FairShare Unlock and PanelMeasurement told me the ban was unfair because it sought user consent. (It declined to say who its clients were, but said its terms prohibited customers from selling confidential information.) None of the other extension makers answered my questions about why they collected browsing data.
A few days after the shutdown, Nacho posted a notice on its website that it had suffered a “permanent” data outage and would no longer take on new clients, or provide new data for existing ones.
But that doesn’t mean this problem is over.
North Carolina State University researchers recently tested how many of the 180,000 available Chrome extensions leak privacy-sensitive data. They found 3,800 such extensions — and the 10 most popular alone have more than 60 million users.
“Not all of these companies are malicious, or doing this on purpose, but they have the ability to sell your data if they want,” said Alexandros Kapravelos, a computer science professor who worked on the study.
Extension makers sometimes cash out by selling to companies that convert their popular extensions into data Hoovers. The 382 extensions Kapravelos suspects are in the data-sale business have nearly 8 million users. “There is no regulation that prevents them from doing this,” he said.
So why aren’t Google and Mozilla stopping it? Researchers have been calling out nefarious extensions for years, and the companies say they vet what’s in their stores. “We want Chrome extensions to be safe and privacy-preserving, and detecting policy violations is essential to that effort,” said Google Senior Director, Margret Schmidt.
But clearly it’s insufficient. Jadali found two extensions waited three to five weeks to begin leaking data, and he suspects they may have delayed to avoid detection. Google recently announced it would begin requiring extensions to minimize the data they access, among other technical changes. Mozilla said its recent focus has also been on limiting the damage add-ons can do.
Just as big a problem is a data industry that’s grown cavalier about turning our lives into its raw material.
In an interview, Nacho CEO Mike Roberts wouldn’t say where he sourced his data. But Jadali, he said, violated Nacho’s terms of service by looking at personal information. “No actual Nacho Analytics customer was looking at this stuff. The only people that saw any private information was you guys,” Roberts said.
I’m not certain how he could know that. There were so many secrets on Nacho that tracking down all the ways they might have been used is impossible.
His defence of Nacho boiled down to this: It’s just the way the Internet works.
Roberts said he believed the people who contributed data to Nacho — including my colleague — were “informed.” He added: “I guess it wouldn’t surprise me if some people aren’t aware of what every tool or website does with their data.”
Nacho is not so different, he said, from others in his industry. “The difference is that I wanted to level the playing field and put the same power into the hands of marketers and entrepreneurs — and that created a lot more transparency,” he said. “In a way, that transparency can be like looking into a black mirror.”
He’s not entirely wrong. Large swaths of the tech industry treat tracking as an acceptable way to make money, whether most of us realize what’s really going on. Amazon will give you a $10 (N 3,580) coupon for it. Google tracks your searches, and even your activity in Chrome, to build out a lucrative dossier on you. Facebook does the same with your activity in its apps, and off.
Of course, those companies don’t usually leave your personal information hanging out on the open Internet for sale. But just because it’s hidden doesn’t make it any less scary.
*Courtesy: Washington Post
Boko Haram: Chidoka demands compensation for families of dead soldiers
hief Osita Chidoka, former Minister of Aviation has called for proper identification of soldiers who have lost their lives in the war against Boko Haram and other forms of internal insurgency.
Chidoka made the call in a statement made available to newsmen by Ikechukwu Okafor, his media aide in Awka on Friday.
The former Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said the families of the dead soldiers deserved the support by government and people of Nigeria for the maximum sacrifice they made for the country.
Chidoka, who embarked on a 48-kilometre marathon Thursday, said he embarked on the 48,000 steps marathon on his 48th birthday to raise roughly $30,000 (equivalent of N11 million) for the families of the dead soldiers who are in difficulties.
He said the gesture was to draw attention to the plight of the victims.
He hailed the gallantry of the soldiers who have battled to save Nigeria from internal insurrection for years and called on Nigerians and corporate bodies to encourage them to do more to wrestle the country from the hands of internal aggressors.
“For about eight to 10 years now, Nigeria has been at war with insurgency, without these soldiers, terrorists would have taken over the country, so we have to let these soldiers know that we value their efforts and sacrifice.
“I remember the Chief of Army Staff lamenting that soldiers are not fighting in the war front.
“For me whose grandfather went to the Second World War and came back with one leg from that war, he would have become a destitute if not the care he enjoyed from the British government.
“So, is time to let our soldiers know that this country cares about them, Nigeria is in difficult situation, we have to let them know that their efforts are not in vain,” he said.
Chidoka said the money realised on his birthday would be used to support the dead soldiers’ families in their various areas of need.
Meanwhile, former President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Ibinabo Fiberesima showed solidarity with Chidoka adding that it was a good thing happening to Nigeria.
“It’s a good thing, it’s time we start showing love to humanity. Love will heal everything. What Chidoka is doing, I am amazed. As long as there is love, we will heal our country. We must learn to love,” she said.
Herdsmen attacks: Ortom urges FG to fulfil promise to resettle Benue IDPs
overnor Samuel Ortom of Benue State yesterday urged the Federal Government to fulfil its promise to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in various camps following herdsmen attacks on the state last year.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, had visited the IDP camps in May last year and announced that the Federal Government had earmarked N10 billion for the resettlement of victims of the attacks in Benue and other states.
Speaking at the Government House in Makurdi when he received the President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Reverend Stephen Panya Baba, Governor Ortom disclosed that the Federal Government was yet to fulfil the promise.
He said resources of Benue State had been overstretched in managing the IDP camps, stating that if the Federal Government redeems its pledge, the funds would greatly assist the state in returning the affected persons to their ancestral homes.
The governor also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call for a National Dialogue Forum where Nigerians would frankly speak on issues affecting the country, particularly insecurity and proffer solutions.
He condemned the latest order the Fulani herders association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has given to its members to defend themselves, describing the order as capable of causing unimaginable violence.
The governor wondered why the group continuously makes inflammatory statements but its officials are not invited for questioning.
Reverend Panya Baba commended the governor who he said stood firmly with his people despite the security and political storm, saying it was an indication that Ortom is a leader who truly loves his people.
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