Plus: why we need smarter cities and not “smart cities”

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The ad reads like an offer of salvation: Cancer kills many people. But there is hope in Apatone, a patented vitamin C-based blend, which is ‘KILL CANCER’. The substance, an unproven treatment that has not been approved by the FDA, is not available in the United States. If you want Apatone, the ad suggests, you’ll need to travel to a clinic in Mexico.

If you’re on Facebook or Instagram and Meta has determined that you may be interested in cancer treatments, you may have seen this ad. It’s part of a pattern on Facebook of ads making misleading or false health claims targeting cancer patients.

Evidence from Facebook and Instagram users, medical researchers and its own ad library suggests that Meta is full of ads with sensational health claims, directly benefiting the company, with some misleading ads going unchallenged for months and even years. Read the full story.

—Abby Ohlheiser

The hacking industry is at the end of an era

The news: NSO Group, the world’s most infamous hacking company, could soon cease to exist. The Israeli company, still reeling from US sanctions, is in talks about a possible takeover by US military contractor L3 Harris. The deal is far from certain, but if it goes through, it will likely mean the dismantling of NSO Group and the end of an era.

Industry-wide turbulence: Whatever happens to NSO, the changes in the global hacking industry are far greater than any single company. That’s largely due to two big changes: The US approved NSO in late 2021, and days later the Israeli government severely curtailed its hacking industry, reducing the number of countries companies can sell to from more than 100 to just 37.

But… The industry is adapting instead of disappearing. One thing we are learning is that a vacuum cannot last long in a market where demand is so high. Read the full story.

—Patrick Howell O’Neill

We need smarter cities, not “smart cities”

The term “smart cities” originated as a marketing strategy for major IT vendors. It has now become synonymous with urban use of technology, especially advanced and emerging technologies. But cities are more than 5G, big data, driverless vehicles and AI, and a focus on building ‘smart cities’ threatens to turn cities into technology projects.

Truly smart cities recognize the ambiguity of livelihoods and livelihoods, and they are driven by outcomes that go well beyond the implementation of ‘solutions’. They are defined by the talents, relationships and sense of ownership of their residents – not by the technology deployed there. Read the full story.