Dec 05

TechLatino Guest Blogger: Dr. Nicole Turner -Lee. Addressing Racial Bias in the Online Economy

In a company blog post, the chief privacy officer acknowledged that advertisers could misuse the tool for discriminatory and predatory purposes, and committed to updating ad guidelines so that vendors understand Facebook’s nondiscrimination policies.

The social media giant joins a host of other high tech companies that find themselves wedged between the values of permissionless innovation, which seeks to remove barriers to entry for technology experimentation, and the social responsibility to protected classes, particularly in sheltering racial and ethnic groups from either explicit discrimination, unconscious bias, or both.

THE EFFECTS OF BIG DATA

Consumer data are collected daily through a series of interactions with web sites, social media, e-commerce vehicles, and inquiries for information of interest. These small portions of data become compiled, mined, and eventually regenerated for marketplace use.  Big data serves a variety of purposes, from helping to advance breakthroughs in science, health care, energy, and transportation to enhancing government efficiencies by aggregating the input of citizens.

Big data can also include or exclude consumers, argues the Federal Trade Commission, an agency whose responsibilities include regulatory oversight of online content companies.  When the analytics behind big data are misapplied, consumers can be tracked or profiled based on anything from their online preferences for goods and services to their public opinions.  The result of these profiles could lead to denial of credit based on web browsing of pay day lenders, or predictive algorithms that could determine an individual’s suitability for future employment or educational opportunity.  Online proxies, including zip code, can also be used by marketers to extrapolate an individual’s socioeconomic status based on neighborhood, resulting in subjective assumptions about one’s lifestyle.

In these and other examples, big data, when misused, can aid and abet discrimination already experienced by disadvantaged populations, particularly people of color, women, and the poor.

BIG DATA AND EXPLICIT DISCRIMINATION

Algorithmic bias is one form of explicit discrimination perpetuated online.  In 2013, Google results for searches of “black-sounding” names were more likely to link arrest records with the profiles, even when false.  This year, comparative online searches of “three white teenagers” and “three black teenagers” rendered smiling faces for the former, and police mugshots for the latter.  While computer programmers may not create algorithms that start out being discriminatory, the collection and curation of social preferences eventually can becomeadaptive algorithmsthat embrace societal biases.

Companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft are also experiencing increased explicit discrimination among users of their online sharing applications.  This year, Airbnb found that some hosts for the home-rental service were rejecting renters based on race, age, gender, and other factors.  In its corporate report to tackle this bigotry and foster inclusion, the company vowed to eradicate bias on their site through newcommunity commitmentagreements that reinforce legal compliance, and policies that ensure that all guests will be accommodated in cases of unjust treatment.

Researchers also exposed similar occurrences of discrimination when they found that ride-sharing services, Uber and Lyft, were either cancelling rides or extending wait times for African-American customers in Boston and Seattle.  In a sample of 1,500 rides in both cities, the study found that Uber drivers were more likely to cancel on riders with “black-sounding” names, and that African-American men typically waited longer to be picked up.  African-American customers were also “screened out” by Lyft drivers through a review of their names and faces upon the order.  Other study findings included women who were often taken on longer rides to extend the cost of the fare.

Countering forms of explicit discrimination has become a lot easier in the U.S. under federal laws that govern equal opportunity for protected classes in the areas of housing, employment, and the extension of credit.  In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352 which “forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing.”  The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was later amended to include the Fair Housing Act, which further prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions to federally-mandated protected classes.  Enacted in 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits any creditor from discriminating against any applicant from any type of credit transaction based on protected characteristics.

However, these laws do not mitigate and resolve implicit bias that can factor into algorithms and human decision making within the online economy.

UNCONSCIOUS BIAS IN THE ONLINE ECONOMY

The Kirwan Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity defines implicit bias as “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”  Citing individuals’ common susceptibility to these biases, the Kirwan Center found that it is the nature of homogenous associations and relationships to harbor particular feelings and attitudes about others based on race, ethnicity, age, and appearance.

In her research on implicit bias in higher education, sociologist Katherine Milkman identified its persistence when white professors were less likely to respond to students of color requesting office hours due to preconceived stereotypes about their background, status, and competencies.  On the campaign trail, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton invoked the concepts of implicit bias when referencing the harmful deviances of the law enforcement and how more privileged classes apply every day stereotypes to racial and ethnic groups.

Compared to the more explicit expressions of discriminatory behaviors, implicit bias is equally harmful in the online economy and more likely to be present in Silicon Valley, where diverse populations are currently underrepresented.

The Obama administration was proactive on the issue of fairness and issued a report on algorithmic systems and civil rights, pointing to the threats of big data for vulnerable populations.  The report suggested an “equal opportunity design framework” to mitigate discrimination along historical, social, and technological contexts.  In other words, the findings proffered that technology not be designed in a vacuum, but rather account for potential disparities in its platform and execution.  Consequently, algorithms that discriminate could be easily dealt with, fixed, or abandoned.

Cultivating more diverse workforces in high tech companies is another strategy for quelling online discrimination.  Companies that are disrupting societal norms via the sharing economy, social media, and the internet of things must do better to address the less than remarkable representation of people of color as creators, influencers, and decision makers.

Recent diversity statistics report that African-Americans make up less than two percent of senior executive positions in high tech companies, and Hispanics three percent when compared to 83 percent of whites.  Asian-Americans comprised 11 percent of executives in high tech companies.  In the occupations of computer programmers, software developers, and database administrators, African-Americans and Hispanics collectively are under six percent of the total workforce while whites make up 68 percent.

On the technology investment sideless than eight percent of senior decision makers in venture capital firms are women; and African-Americans and Hispanics comprise one percent of these same roles.  And not surprisingly, only three percent of funding goes to women, and one percent to African-American technology entrepreneurs.

Without confronting the challenges of workforce diversity, implicit bias is prone to go unnoticed in homogenous work cultures, leading to innovations that can directly or indirectly discriminate against users.

As the U.S. directs most of its attention to addressing the ideological and racial rifts resultant from the most recent election, an opportunity also exists to curtail racial bias in the online economy, which could potentially serve as a reference for current reconciliation efforts.

Facebook and Google are donors to the Brookings Institution. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions posted in this piece are solely those of the authors and not influenced by any donation.

Follow Dr Nicole Turner -Lee on Twitter @drturnerlee

Dec 05

The One Thing You Need to Do Before Shopping Online: Lock Down Your Login.

stopFor millions of Americans, getting the best holiday shopping deals and discounts have become as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey, football or pumpkin pie. Increasingly, that shopping takes place online, which provides a lot of conveniences but also raises the specter of scams, fraud or identity theft. Just as consumers have migrated towards online shopping, credit card thieves have started shifting their efforts online as well. During the holidays, deeply discounted products look appealing and shoppers make quick purchasing decisions without always taking into consideration the online purchasing risks that can be present. Many Americans have had their online accounts hacked and personal information compromised because of stolen credentials or weak logins. As hackers get more resourceful, usernames and passwords – which have been the fundamental account security mechanism – are no longer a sufficient solution to secure accounts. Luckily, there is a simple way to secure your online accounts and better protect yourself against online crime: strong authentication.

Enabling strong authentication, sometimes called multi-factor or two-factor authentication, goes beyond just a username and password and is a useful way to lock down your login. I encourage you to enable strong authentication on your sensitive online accounts such as your email, banking, and social media accounts today. Taking advantage of the strong authentication – such as a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device, biometrics, or security keys – that are offered by the majority of popular websites and services can go a long way in protecting your personal information online.

The White House recently launched the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign to encourage all Americans to protect themselves online with strong authentication. For more information on strong authentication and the new campaign, please visit www.LockDownYourLogin.com. You’ll find specific advice on how to turn on strong authentication on a variety of websites and services that Americans use each day.

Additionally, DHS’ Stop.Think.Connect. campaign has a number of tips and resources to help consumers protect themselves when shopping online. In addition to using strong authentication whenever possible, consumers should:

  • Never provide your banking or credit card information over an unsecured public WiFi network.
  • Shop only at credible, reputable websites, and look for URLs that start with “https”, which are more secure than “http” sites.
  • Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Hackers and thieves often use “can’t miss” deals to lure unsuspecting customers and collect credit card or financial information.

TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association is a partner of @stopthinkconnect and the Department of Homeland Security. Follow us on twitter @techlatino

The Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit has free tip cards and how-to guides on how you can protect yourself online. These guides cover a variety of cyber topics including phishing, mobile banking and payments, online gaming, and malware. Recently the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign released several new tip cards including:

  • Best Practices for Using Public Wi-Fi
  • Identity Theft and Internet Scams
  • Mobile Banking and Payments
  • Online Gaming
  • Online Privacy
  • Malware
  • Five Ways to be Cyber Secure at Work
  • How to Recognize and Prevent Cybercrime
  • Five Steps to Protecting Your Digital Home

Share these downloadable resources with your family, your stakeholders, as well as your community to promote online safety. Additionally, to find Toolkit materials that are tailored to specific audiences including Older Americans, Students K-12, Law Enforcement and Small Business, please visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit at www.dhs.gov/StopThinkConnect.  For more tips and information on how to stay safe online, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

Nov 18

Next Four Years Could be Rough for Silicon Valley.

siliconThe coming four years of a Republican-controlled House, Congress and White House will likely be challenging for GoogleNetflixApple and other Silicon Valley technology companies, as President-elect Donald Trump rolls back or reverses tech-friendly legislation championed by the current administration.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission this week indicated it would likely halt a proposal to introduce more competition in the pay-TV set-top box market. The average American household spends about $230 per year to rent cable boxes from cable companies.

Google, Apple and other tech companies had lobbied the FCC to ask cable companies to create apps that would open up their content to third-party platforms like Android TV and Apple TV.

“The question is how far will the pendulum swing back” in favor of telecom and cable companies, Hal Singer, senior fellow at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy told Reuters.

Republican lawmakers have urged FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to not make any controversial decisions ahead of Trump’s inauguration, as they could be immediately reversed under the new administration.

Republicans have been critical of net neutrality rules adopted by the FCC last year that require telecom companies to treat all traffic on the internet the same. Data-hungry applications like Netflix support net neutrality, which ensures that the company’s competitors, like Comcast and AT&T, can’t charge customers more for accessing Netflix.

Netflix consumes an estimated 35 percent of North American fixed network bandwidth, industry analyst Sandvine says. YouTube, Facebook and Amazon Prime Video are also top bandwidth hogs.

The FCC could also revisit recently adopted rules that subject internet services providers to stricter privacy policies than other companies.

The S&P 500 has gained about 1.1 percent since Trump’s election a little over two weeks ago. Meanwhile, shares of Apple have fallen 1 percent since the election, Alphabet shares are down 2.4 percent, Facebook shares are down 5 percent and Netflix shares are down 7 percent.

Nov 18

Congratulations to the First Latina CEO of a Fortune 500: Geisha Williams, PG&E

geisha-williams

TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association congratulates Geisha Williams for being selected as the new CEO and President of PG&E Corporation. The first Latina to take such a position at a fortune 500 company.

Taking over the position on March 1, 2017, Williams will become the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company in U.S. history.  Williams will succeed Anthony F. Earley, Jr. 

“Geisha Williams has crack another glass ceiling. We are very pleased with PG&E Corporation’s decision to select Geisha Williams as the company’s new President & CEO,” said Jose Marquez CEO of TechLatino.  “We congratulate Geisha on her new role and applaud PG&E board of directors for choosing her to take the company to the next generation.”

TechLatino applauds PG&E Corporation for making a great decision and choosing the best for your company. Geisha Williams has been at the forefront of promoting clean energy within PG&E, and will continue to promote this transformational goal She plays a significant part in shifting the company to getting 30% of its energy from renewable resources. Additionally, Geisha’s experience as President of Electric at PG&E will help guide her as she maintains the company’s electrical grid, which serves Northern and Central California. We believe that her 21st century leadership is what will bring even greater success to PG&E Corporation. 

Cuban-American Williams, joined PG&E in 2007 and was named Executive Vice President for Electric Operations in 2011. Over the last six years under her leadership, PG&E customers have benefitted from the best reliability in company history. Before PG&E, she held officer-level positions leading electric distribution, as well as a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in customer service, marketing, external affairs and electric operations at Florida Power and Light Company.

A trustee of the California Academy of Sciences, Williams also serves as the board chair for the Center for Energy and Workforce Development, and as a director for the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. In addition, she is active in Executive Women in Energy and the University of Miami President’s Council.

Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in business administration from Nova Southeastern University. 

 

Nov 11

A Message to our U.S. Latino Youth and the 2016 Elections from National CEO and National Board of Directors of TechLatino.

jamTechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association, the nation’s largest and oldest Latino Technology Association, was excited to see our Latino youth engaged in this past political process, your voices were heard loud and clear. Now, it’s more important than ever that you continue to work to bring change to your local communities by continuing to let your voices be heard through continued civic participation.

Like you, I too was saddened by the outcome of the recent election, but let’s reflect on what Secretary Clinton’s campaign accomplished—she opened the door for young women across the country to stand on her shoulders and break the final glass ceiling. To her we say thank you! With an election filled with the politics of hate and division, our new hope is President-Elect Trump follows through on his claims and works with “all” Americans for the betterment of this nation.

To all students across the country we acknowledge, you are the future, the wellbeing of our country depends on you. It is you who must build the path forward on our journey. Stay strong, question everything, and be the light for our community.

As for TechLatino and the rest of the national Hispanic organizations, we will engage our community and if given the opportunity, educate the new administration on the needs of the Latino Community. We must take the conversation from Table to Table, Street to Street, State to State and develop a strategic plan of engagement and most importantly we must put our issues to the side for the good of our community.

The time is now, to become a united community, we must become a united voting block. We must take action and become powerful enough to repudiate any abhorrent agendas that may surface in the months to come.

The stakes have never been higher. We have worked too hard, sacrificed too much to let it go by the wayside in one night. We must organize, work harder, we must hold accountable all our elected officials, so that the new administration’s agenda will benefit all Americans.”

You got our pledge that TechLatino: LISTA’s will be ready, steadfast, indomitable and united behind a vision and plan of action to shape a nation where we can all thrive and have dignity, where we can care for our community and flourish in freedom from all forms of inequality.

We will stand together no matter where we may be from. #togetherwearestronger.

We invite you to journey with us.

Siempre pa’lante,

Jose Marquez,

CEO

TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association

Twitter: @lista1 

Oct 31

TechLatino Guest Blogger Daniel Castro, ITIF: A Simple Proposal For How Congress Can Fix ‘Internet of Things’ Security

Daniel Castro, VP, ITIFLast week, hackers launched the largest distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks in history against the Domain Name System (DNS) service provider Dyn, taking offline many of its high-profile customers, including PayPal, Twitter, Reddit, Amazon and Netflix.

Not only was this attack massive and sustained, it also made headlines because the botnet it used to take Dyn down consisted of DVRs, webcams and other connected devices that make up the “internet of things.”
In the wake of this event, many policymakers are left wondering what, if anything, they can do to prevent future attacks and how they can make the burgeoning internet of things more secure.

Fortunately, there is a relatively simple step that Congress could take to jump-start cybersecurity in the fledgling internet of things: require companies to publish a security policy.

Most companies today publish a privacy policy. While multiple studies have found that the average consumer does not read these policies, does not have time to read these policies and does not even know what a privacy policy even is, privacy policies are useful in that they create transparency for those who are interested in the privacy practices of an organization.

This transparency in turn creates accountability and oversight from privacy-sensitive consumers, competitors, consumer advocacy groups, reportersand regulators. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in particular, has actively monitored the privacy practices of the private sector and held companies accountable for adhering to their stated practices.

The overall result is that companies in the United States have a significant degree of autonomy and flexibility in how they collect and use personal data, which has allowed innovation to flourish, but they still must answer both to their users and to government regulators.

While some privacy policies discuss security, these appear to be the exception rather than the rule. As a result, most companies are not held to the same standards for security that they are held to on privacy.

Instead, the FTC has held companies to vague standards and gone after companies that do not implement “reasonable security” measures — an ambiguous target that likely leaves companies scrambling to avoid regulatory penalties rather than improve consumer security.

While the FTC attempts to provide guidance, these resources can perhaps best be described as “regulation by buzzword.” The FTC helpfully reminds companies to use a “risk-based approach,” implement “defense in depth” and always do “security by design.”

Moreover, an absence of published security policies creates the type of information asymmetry that creates inefficient markets. Consumers (or tech-savvy reporters or consumer advocacy groups) cannot easily differentiate between secure and insecure products.

Without this differentiation, there are weak market signals to reward companies for investing in cybersecurity or allow more secure products to gain market share. While many large companies still invest in information security as a matter of principle, there are still countless others who make products and services without the same level of commitment.

Many of the problems that we see are companies failing to implement basic security practices, such as using hardcoded passwords, sending data without encrypting it or using poor authentication protocols.

By publishing security policies, companies would be motivated to describe the types of security measures they have in place rather than just make vague claims of “we take security seriously” — especially as their competitors begin to do so.

Consumer Reports, for example, is unlikely to recommend a smart refrigerator that does not encrypt its communication.

Publishing security policies would give individual companies the freedom to manage risk as they see fit, as they would not be required to implement specific government-imposed security features.

But by being more transparent about their practices, consumers could make more informed decisions. And if companies fail to uphold their stated practices, and these failures are either intentional or result in actual harm, then regulators like the FTC could take swift enforcement action.

As the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) has argued before, the United States, like most other countries, has a schizophrenic approach to cybersecurity that is broken and ineffective.

The current policy emphasizes relative security over absolute security. Nations want to be able to hack in to the systems of their adversaries, but they do not want their own systems to be vulnerable.

So rather than working together to improve global information security practices for everyone, nations spend billions to penetrate systems and horde zero-day vulnerabilities.

This needs to change.

But in the interim, there is at least one concrete step policymakers can take to begin to change the security practices of the private sector and help pave the way for a more secure internet of things.

Daniel Castro is vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the leading U.S. science and tech policy think tank.

Follow him on Twitter @CastroTech.

Oct 29

How Facebook’s Racial Segmentation Is Helping Trump Campaign Try To Suppress African American Voting

voter-suppression-buttonEarlier this week, Bloomberg had a fairly revealing article about the internal digital efforts of the Donald Trump campaign, in which Bloomberg reporters embedded for a few days. The whole article is quite interesting, but one of the most stunning parts, frankly, was the Trump campaign staffers directly admitting how they are actively trying to suppress voting by African Americans. It’s no secret that a variety of new voter ID laws are designed to suppress voting — especially among minorities. When North Carolina’s voter ID law was struck down by the court, the judge pointed out how the legislators that had backed it had explicitly targeted rules that would suppress votes among African Americans. They had requested “racial data” concerning voter ID and then specifically targeted the types of ID more commonly used by African Americans.
 

In her remarkable opinion, Judge Motz strongly suggests that North Carolina’s law was indeed racist. The day following the release of Shelby County, she noted, a GOP leader in the state legislature announced his intention to write a law that the feds would have no authority to vet before it went into effect. Like laws in other Republican states, the North Carolina bill imposed a tough new photo-ID requirement. But it did much more: the law eliminated same-day voter registration and pre-registration for high-school students about to turn 18, curtailed early voting by one week and banned out-of-precinct voting.

Each of these new rules disproportionately impacted black voters seeking to exercise the franchise, as legislators in North Carolina were well aware. “Prior to enactment” of the law, the Fourth Circuit explained, “the legislature requested and received racial data as to usage of the practices changed by the proposed law.” Released from the obligation to clear their law with the Justice department and “with race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans.” Photo IDs used more often by black voters, including public assistance IDs, were removed from the list of acceptable identification, while IDs issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles—which blacks are less likely to have—were retained. Cutting the first week of early voting came in reaction to data showing that the first seven days were used by large numbers of black voters, nixing one Sunday on which churches would bus “souls-to-the-polls”. Banning same-day registration, too, had an outsize effect on blacks, as did the prohibition on out-of-precinct voting: both changes made voting harder for people who had recently moved, and blacks are more itinerant than whites.

That, alone, was pretty stunning, but they still tried to pretend in public that the law wasn’t about suppressing the vote. However, when put with a Bloomberg reporter, the Trump campaign flat out brags about its efforts to suppress the vote among African Americans. And they’re using extreme targeting on Facebook to do so:

Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans. Trump’s invocation at the debate of Clinton’s WikiLeaks e-mails and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership was designed to turn off Sanders supporters. The parade of women who say they were sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton and harassed or threatened by Hillary is meant to undermine her appeal to young women. And her 1996 suggestion that some African American males are “super predators” is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls—particularly in Florida.

On Oct. 24, Trump’s team began placing spots on select African American radio stations. In San Antonio, a young staffer showed off a South Park-style animation he’d created of Clinton delivering the “super predator” line (using audio from her original 1996 sound bite), as cartoon text popped up around her: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” The animation will be delivered to certain African American voters through Facebook “dark posts”—nonpublic posts whose viewership the campaign controls so that, as Parscale puts it, “only the people we want to see it, see it.” The aim is to depress Clinton’s vote total. “We know because we’ve modeled this,” says the official. “It will dramatically affect her ability to turn these people out.”

Now that’s… interesting (and ridiculous, but we’ll leave that aside for the moment). Of course, every election cycle involves a ton of targeted “negative advertising” that is designed to suppress overall interest in a candidate. But the two things newsworthy here are (1) the fact that the Trump campaign is directly admitting to the intention behind that strategy here, rather than hiding it and (2) the ability to use Facebook to target these kinds of campaigns to a level previously not available.

Facebook, somewhat famously, allows extraordinarily targeted advertising. We’ve played around with it ourselves, and it’s really quite incredible how granular you can go in trying to target your ads. Basically any trait or interest or demographic group that you can think of, you can put into an ad target group. At times, as you dig through the options, it almost feels like it’s just Facebook showing off just how much data and insight it has into its users. It’s a data nerd’s dream, where you can slice and dice billions of people by basically anything.

Oct 27

Lee Van Discusses 10 Facts To Convince Your Boss To Invest In Hispanic Marketing

leeBravo to Ad Age for publishing the 13th annual Hispanic Fact Pack – a comprehensive guide that is chock full of statistics about the Hispanic market and advertising industry.

Each year I look forward to analyzing the Hispanic Fact Pack to see how our industry continues to grow and evolve. For this post I pulled out 10 stats you can use to convince your boss to invest in Hispanic marketing.

1. $1.7 Trillion* – Projected aggregate buying power of U.S. Hispanics in 2017. Who wouldn’t want a piece of a nearly 2 trillion-dollar market?

2. 56.6 Million – Total number of Hispanics in the U.S. – 17.6% of the population. How could you not target the nation’s largest minority that is equivalent to entire population of Spain?

3. 60% – Percentage of U.S. Hispanics younger than 35 – Hispanics have also accounted for nearly half of U.S. population growth since 2010. Who do you think tomorrow’s consumers will be?

4. $7.83 Billion – Investment by companies on U.S. Hispanic major-media including TV, cable, newspaper, magazines and radio. If your competitors are betting on U.S. Hispanics, shouldn’t you?

5. $427 Million – 2015 U.S. Hispanic measured media investment from Mexican consumer products giant Genomma Lab Internacional, up 21.5% from the previous year. Genomma Lab is the number one investor in Hispanic measured media, spending $100 million more than Procter & Gamble. Clearly these guys are onto something.

6. 36 Million –  Number of U.S. Hispanic visitors to Google each month. This is a whopping 94% of all online U.S. Hispanics. Can you say critical mass?

7. 31.4 Million – Number of U.S. Hispanics that use Facebook and Messenger each month, 102 index against general market. If you are investing in social media marketing, you should definitely be targeting Hispanics.

8. 27.2% – Percentage of U.S. Hispanic adults who agree with the statement, “Social networking is a great way for me to tell people about products I like.” this vs. 23% of all adults. If you want positive word of mouth for your brand, you now know where to turn.

9. 53.8% – Percentage of U.S. Hispanics who purchased apparel products via a tablet vs. 46.5% of all adults. Hispanics also over-index across major categories when it comes to purchasing via tablet and cell phones. Your products need to be in front of U.S. Hispanic tablet and mobile users.

10. 2.5 Hours –  Amount of time U.S. Hispanics spend watching videos online per session, compared to 2.1 hours for all Americans. Create and market videos for U.S. Hispanics and they will watch them.

I hope these facts help you convince your boss to invest in Hispanic marketing – be sure to let me know how it goes or if you need more facts about Online Hispanic Marketing. ¡Suerte!

*This fact was not in the Ad Age Hispanic Fact Pack.

Oct 27

Understanding the Dyn DDoS Attack.

cyber_warTraffic jams are caused when too many cars all try to go to the same place at the same time. The roads are overwhelmed, traffic comes to a standstill, and no one gets to their destination on time.

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) cyberattack like the one that made headlines by staggering the internet last Friday works the same way. Someone purposely forces too many bits of information to a server all at once, rendering it functionless. The system is overwhelmed.

The DDoS attack against Dyn this past week meant a number of organizations couldn’t access information and applications. The result was that for many end-users, the internet simply didn’t work. Making this attack particularly potent was that Dyn isn’t just a targeted company but a key part of the internet supply chain used by many internet companies, leading to outages – in this case, everyone who is dependent on Dyn. Dyn reports that some of the attacks came as part of the Mirai virus, which means the attack came via IoT devices like web-connected network security cameras instead of desktop computers.

The chart above shows how a botnet, when repeated over thousands of users, can overwhelm internet systems and lead to a DDoS attack like the one delivered to Dyn. It’s a surprisingly simple concept that, when executed, hijacks a benign Internet lookup tool for its own nefarious purpose.

DDoS attacks are effective and efficient. But there are steps that users can take to protect their IoT devices from being hijacked. To protect against another attack like the one that happened last week, at a minimum make sure to change the default username and password on your IoT devices. Taking small measures means you can better protect your devices from being taken over and used in an attack.

Oct 27

Bank of America Survey Finds Hispanic Avid Users of Mobile for Banking. (Infographic)    

boaTrailblazing in Tech: Hispanic Consumers Reveal Mobile-First Mindset, Early Adoption of Fintech  

Hispanic consumers are significantly more likely to engage with mobile to manage their finances, with nearly four in five (78 percent) using a mobile banking app, compared to approximately half (51 percent) of non-Hispanics. What’s more, nearly three-quarters (69 percent) of the Hispanic community cite digital as their primary method of banking.

These are new findings released today from the Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, exploring mobile trends and banking behaviors among consumers who own a smartphone and have an existing banking relationship at any financial institution. The release of the survey follows the bank’s recent introduction of its mobile app in Spanish.

The report reveals similar insights when examining mobile payments. More than half (56 percent) of Hispanics would use or already use their phone to make purchases at checkout, compared to just 36 percent of their non-Hispanic counterparts. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanics say they’re likely to use emerging payment methods such as mobile wallets and social media apps, with nearly three-quarters (72 percent) citing they would use or already use their bank’s peer-to-peer payments service.

“This survey reinforces what our Hispanic customers show us every day – the Hispanic community leads the way in mobile adoption, usage and engagement,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America. “We’re committed to delivering solutions that meet the needs and behaviors of these consumers, such as our recently released mobile app available in Spanish.”

“This survey reinforces what our Hispanic customers show us every day ‒ the Hispanic community leads the way in mobile adoption, usage and engagement” 

Hispanic consumers are significantly more likely to engage with mobile to manage their finances, with 78 percent using a mobile banking app, compared to approximately half (51 percent) of non-Hispanics. What’s more, nearly three-quarters (69 percent) of the Hispanic community cite digital as their primary method of banking.

These are new findings released today from the Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, exploring mobile trends and banking behaviors among consumers who own a smartphone and have an existing banking relationship at any financial institution. The release of the survey follows the bank’s recent introduction of its mobile app in Spanish.

The report reveals similar insights when examining mobile payments. More than half (56 percent) of Hispanics would use or already use their phone to make purchases at checkout, compared to just 36 percent of their non-Hispanic counterparts. Seventy-seven percent of Hispanics say they’re likely to use emerging payment methods such as mobile wallets and social media apps, with 72 percent citing they would use or already use their bank’s peer-to-peer payments service.

“This survey reinforces what our Hispanic customers show us every day ‒ the Hispanic community leads the way in mobile adoption, usage and engagement,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at Bank of America. “We’re committed to delivering solutions that meet the needs and behaviors of these consumers, such as our recently released mobile app available in Spanish.”

Banking on the go
Of those Hispanic respondents using a mobile banking app, nearly half (45 percent) are accessing their app once a day or more, in contrast to 32 percent of non-Hispanic respondents. Hispanic users also appear more active with their finances via mobile:

  • In examining overall activity, Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to deposit a check (53 percent) and send money to others (37 percent).
  • When it comes to notifications, Hispanics are also significantly more likely to use mobile banking alerts (93 percent), specifically low balance (50 percent) and card charge overage alerts (48 percent).

Leading the digital lifestyle
This “always on” mentality is also seen in everyday communications, as Hispanic respondents (35 percent) say they are most likely to interact with their smartphone in an average day more than anyone or anything else, including their significant other (29 percent). They are more likely than non-Hispanics to own more than one mobile device (64 percent), and cite texting (32 percent) as their preferred communications method.

Over sharing or fear of missing out? Hispanic respondents also confirmed they are more inclined to share events with others, as nearly all (95 percent) consumers say they want to have their smartphone on hand to capture important life milestones. They’re also more likely than non-Hispanics to post these life moments on social media (78 percent, compared to 69 percent).

Conversely, they are also more likely to use their device to avoid social interactions (66 percent, compared to 40 percent), with holiday gatherings (32 percent), family dinners (28 percent) and school (26 percent) the top places to do so.

Other notable findings from the report include:

  • Selfie nation: Nearly nine in 10 (85 percent) Hispanic respondents say they take selfies, compared to 71 percent of non-Hispanics.
  • Emoji engagement: More than four in five (81 percent) Hispanic consumers admit to using emojis, and nearly one in five (19 percent) say they use them in every text.
  • Instant gratification: Four in five (80 percent) Hispanics feel the appropriate response time to a text should be under an hour, and approximately one in five (18 percent) think it should be “instantly.”
  • Read the room: More than half (54 percent) admit they call or text someone when they’re in the same room, notably higher than non-Hispanics at 36 percent.
  • Plugged in to politics: The vast majority (68 percent) of Hispanics cite they are using their smartphone to engage with the upcoming election cycle in some capacity, compared to less than half (47 percent) of non-Hispanics.

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2016 Bank of America Trailblazing in Tech Infographic (Photo: Business Wire)

Bank of America’s focus on mobile banking

With more than 21 million active mobile users and growing, Bank of America’s mobile banking platform is an evolving source of increased customer engagement and satisfaction. During the second quarter of 2016, mobile banking customers logged into their accounts more than 900 million times, or approximately 47 times per user. During that same period, customers made more than 25 million mobile bill payments and nearly 80 million transfers, a growth of 30 percent and 46 percent, respectively, over 2015. Customers also used their mobile devices to deposit more than 280,000 checks daily and to schedule 22,000 appointments per week with a personal banker or financial center specialist, and were able to use their smartphone at more than 2,800 cardless ATMs to withdraw cash. More customers are opening new accounts through mobile, with sales increasing by 48 percent over the past year.

In addition to the ability to set the mobile app language to Spanish, recently added functionality includes:

  • Access universal help button from all pages.
  • Change or request new credit card PIN.
  • Redeem credit card rewards.
  • View FICO score.
  • Ability to lock and unlock debit cards.

About the Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report
Braun Research, Inc. (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative telephone survey on behalf of Bank of America March 29‒April 12, 2016. Braun surveyed 1,004 respondents throughout the U.S., comprised of adults age 18+ with a current banking relationship (checking or savings) and who own a smartphone. The survey was conducted by phone to a dual-frame landline and cell. In addition, an oversample of Hispanic consumers was conducted to bring the total number of surveys with this demographic group to 575. The margin of error for the national quota of n=1,004 is +/- 3.1 percent, and the margin of error for the Hispanic oversample (where n=575) is +/- 4.1 percent, with each reported at a 95 percent confidence level.

 

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