Before we get to today’s issue, a quick reminder…
This Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, I’m hosting a free 5G investing summit. We’re calling it The Final Phase of the 5G Boom. Quality 5G stocks will be some of the best investments of the next decade. Key 5G companies will soar 10x… or perhaps higher.
But investors need to get positioned right now. New 5G networks are going live every week. Once the rest of the world realizes how revolutionary these networks are, select 5G stocks will soar.
I’ll share my investing script for picking the right 5G stocks on Thursday. And I’ll give you a 5G company to add to your watchlist. Reserve your spot right here.
Now on to today’s insights…
Facebook’s latest antics…
Last week, outside contractors leaked that Facebook has been paying them to transcribe audio recordings of users. Of course, this was done without user consent.
When asked, Facebook would not tell the contractors where the recordings came from. The contractors were basically told to “just transcribe it.”
Well, it turns out these were quite sensitive conversations. They were from personal video chats between users who spoke candidly, not expecting anyone else to be listening in. Naturally, this made some of the contractors uncomfortable. That’s why they leaked the story.
After all the shenanigans and misuse of Facebook’s users’ data… it just seems to get worse.
And the ironic thing is that Facebook was just on Capitol Hill in 2018 to answer for its indiscretions. In fact, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a senator that the idea that Facebook listens to users’ conversations was a conspiracy theory. He explicitly said, “We don’t do that.”
So much for that.
I personally don’t use Facebook. I canceled my account about seven years ago when I understood what it was doing with my data. But, sadly, I use its WhatsApp application in order to communicate with groups that I am affiliated with – for example, my classmates at Yale.
WhatsApp wouldn’t have been my choice, but its use is so widespread that it is almost inevitable that some group will be using it. And I need to stay in touch and engaged…
If any readers would like to investigate an online messaging service that values user privacy, I’d encourage you to look into Signal.
I do want to mention that I recommended Facebook’s stock to the readers of my large-cap investing service, The Near Future Report, last October. Facebook is an amazing investment, even if I personally disapprove of how the company uses and mismanages our data. We’re already up 30%. And I’m still bullish on the company.
We can change our password but not our face…
We just got word of a major security vulnerability at a South Korean company called Suprema.
Suprema is a biometrics security company. Its platform uses fingerprints and facial recognition technology to secure computing systems as well as facilities like offices or warehouses.
Suprema’s customers – including the U.K. Metropolitan Police, U.K. defense contractors, and banks – use this platform to create security clearances for employees.
This is highly sensitive data. Yet a pair of cybersecurity researchers found that Suprema’s database was left wide open and available on the internet. It was unprotected and almost entirely unencrypted. Anyone could get to it.
As a result, 28 million records were exposed. And it was not just usernames and passwords… Fingerprints, facial recognition data, and even security clearance information were open for anyone to view.
The researchers tried to contact Suprema about this… But the company never responded. So the researchers went to The Guardian (the U.K.’s equivalent of The New York Times), which went public with the story. That’s how Suprema’s customers found out that their data was up for grabs.
What a strange story. This wasn’t a hacking case. Suprema just didn’t protect its data… leaving the door open for bad actors.
We don’t know how many of those records fell into the wrong hands. Since it was all just sitting there online, I’m guessing the damage is much worse than what’s been reported. And it wasn’t just the U.K. that was affected. Suprema’s platform is used in 83 countries around the world.
This is one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever seen in the industry.
And what’s scary is we’re talking about biometrics.
If our password gets hacked, we can just change our password. But what do we do when our fingerprints and our face get stolen? We can’t change those…
It gives bad actors the ability to completely take over our identities. Protecting biometrics will become more important as we move toward something called multifactor authentication for security.
The more factors that are added (username, password, fingerprint, facial recognition, a key card, etc.), the more secure systems get.
This story underscores what I’ve been telling readers about the importance of cybersecurity.
Governments and corporations continually underspend on cybersecurity. And the number of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to increase every year.
I currently have three key cybersecurity holdings in my Exponential Tech portfolio right now (paid-up subscribers can catch up here, here, and here). And I already have several exciting new cybersecurity companies that have recently gone public on my watchlist for 2020.
The world’s first planetary terrascope…
Scientists at Columbia University are working on a “terrascope,” which will use the Earth’s atmosphere as a lens to explore deep space. Here’s how it works…
The idea is to launch a space telescope into space at the exact opposite side of the Earth from what the telescope is focused on. Because Earth’s atmosphere bends light that passes through it, this effectively uses the atmosphere as a lens to enhance viewing power.
While the picture below is a bit technical, it gives a simple visual idea of what it will look like. The dark gray area represents the Earth, and the blue area is the Earth’s atmosphere. “W” is where the satellite will be placed.
A Terrascope Simulation
Source: MIT Technology Review
The result is a terrascope with the light-gathering power of a 150-meter telescope on Earth… at a fraction of the cost. Scientists estimate the terrascope’s cost to be around $550 million.
Take the James Webb Space Telescope for comparison. This telescope has a primary mirror with a diameter of 6.5 meters. (The primary mirror on a telescope determines how much detail the instrument can see.) The James Webb telescope will soon replace the famous Hubble Telescope, which has a 2.4-meter mirror. The cost of this new telescope? $10 billion.
For more context, a 100-meter telescope would cost $35 billion to build. The massive price tag is why a telescope of that size hasn’t been built yet.
That’s why this is such a great tech solution.
It reminds me of what SpaceX has done with launching payloads to space. It achieved better performance than any of the solutions provided by the incumbents for a fraction of the cost. The terrascope will allow us to explore deep space far better and far cheaper than we ever could before.
And yes, perhaps it will even enable us to find extraterrestrial life elsewhere in the universe. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. I’ll see you later this week at my free 5G investment summit, The Final Phase of the 5G Boom. I’ll reveal why we’re entering the best time to invest in quality 5G stocks. The best 5G investments will soar 10x or higher. Remember, I’ll even give you a new 5G company to add to your watchlist. I can guarantee you’ve never heard of this company. Reserve your spot right here.