Selling drugs that make you feel better about being ill: Big pharma’s push to oversell ADHD meds


01-10-19 08:24:00,

Conditions like ADHD give big pharma many opportunities to sell products that don’t heal people but make them feel less stressed about being ill, the author of a book about his own experience with the disorder told RT.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder usually diagnosed in children and in some cases persists into adulthood. Sufferers generally have problems with attention span and impulse control, which affect their performance at school and may lead to being ostracized.

Large pharmaceutical companies producing drugs used in ADHD treatment have been pushing for a more thorough search for potential sufferers – which some argue is nothing but a sham to expand the market for their products. RT’s Jesse Ventura spoke to Timothy Denevi, the author of a book about his personal experience of living with ADHD, who said people should remember that big pharma is not their friend.

“I think we can agree that large pharmaceutical companies are not moral entities. They don’t have our best interests at heart,” he said.

“The same way a cigarette company or an alcohol company will make argument about their product in regards why you should consume it, I would say big pharma is doing the same thing.”

They are not here to help people but to make a profit.

Conditions like ADHD have no definite indicators – like having a virus in your blood or a deteriorated liver – so diagnosis is subject to interpretation. The effects of psychoactive drugs are often subjective as well, and may include trade-offs that are hard to measure. This opens the door for subtly biased research funded by big pharma, overprescription, and dishonest marketing practices.

“What is advertising but saying: you are overweight, but I don’t want you to realize you are overweight; I just want you to buy this product so you would feel better about being overweight?” Denevi said.

Watch Jesse Ventura’s show for the entire interview.

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Huggies Now Selling Smart Diapers With Bluetooth Sensors Even Though Radiation Exposure From Them Isn’t Safe for Babies


09-06-19 06:11:00,

By B.N. Frank

The idea of “Smart Diapers” for babies dates back a few years.   As noted in a recent Vox article, Huggies is now selling them in Korea and Japan and the U.S. and Mexico may be getting them next.

More companies are interested in creating and marketing these diapers as well as other “Smart” personal care products.  Besides being expensive, Bluetooth technology emits harmful wireless radiation and there is currently no safe level of wireless radiation exposure that has been determined for children or pregnant women.  In fact, 250 scientists have signed a petition which warns against numerous devices that emit Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation, which is used in WiFi and Bluetooth.

“Smart” Diapers also qualify as another source of “Surveillance Capitalism” since companies freely admit that they are able to gather data and track their customer use from the diaper sensors.

Regardless, companies are hoping that there is much money to be made especially since “Smart Diapers” for adults seems to already be a thriving market.  Poor grandma and grandpa…

That long march toward making smart diapers happen has been driven more by fears of slipping market shares than by any kind of real demand from consumers. The furious pace of innovation belies the fact that the US diaper market is in trouble. As the birthrate declines for the seventh year in a row, there are fewer and fewer new parents to buy diapers, and almost all major diaper brands have taken hits. After Kimberly-Clark, which manufactures Huggies, laid off 13 percent of its workers in January 2018, the CEO told investors, “You can’t encourage moms to use more diapers in a developed market where the babies aren’t being born in those markets.”

Last summer, to counter wilting sales, Pampers raised the price of its signature diaper by 4 percent. Huggies is making a bet different bet: By selling upscale diapers, it hopes to recoup the profits lost to a rapidly shrinking baby diaper market.

“The fact that the birthrates are quite low in the US has stirred a lot of interest in trying to get the consumer to spend more,” said Ali Dibadj,

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US telecoms ‘selling cellphone data showing user locations in real time’


09-01-19 01:23:00,

American telecommunications giants are selling access to their customers’ location data, leaving them exposed to being tracked by bounty hunters and others, a disturbing report by Motherboard has revealed.

T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T are reportedly among the companies whose data is being used to track phone locations, leaving mobile network users exposed without their knowledge.

US telecommunication companies sell user data to aggregator companies who then sell this information in turn to their own customers. The data can then be re-sold on the black market, where it could fall into the hands of criminals, stalkers and others.

Motherboard reporter Joseph Cox paid a bounty hunter to geolocate a target’s T-Mobile phone in his investigation into the location tracking practice. The bounty hunter’s contact was able to track the phone to the correct Queens neighborhood within a few hundred meters of its location. This was done without any hacking or previous knowledge of the owner’s location.

Tracking the target

T-Mobile shared user location data with a data aggregator company called Zumigo, which shares information with another company called Microbilt. Microbilt sells phone geolocation services to a number of private industries, like property managers, bail bondsmen and roadside assistance, company documents and sources revealed to Motherboard.

Using just a phone number, the company’s Mobile Device Verify can bring up the target’s name, address and phone location, either in a specific instance, or as a constant tracking service.  

Finding a phone will set you back a mere $4.95, but if you sign up to a package to track more phones the cost per phone will fall. To track someone’s real time location using their phone costs $12.95. In this case, a bounty hunter got a Microbilt customer to find the target’s phone, for $300.

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Microbilt customers can sell on the information they pay for to other sources, meaning the data can end up in anyone’s hands. Motherboard reports bounty hunters also use the geolocation to track their own ex’s.

Telcos sell customers’ real time location to one set of companies, that then sell it to an array of different industries: car rental,

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Company Selling Real-Time Cell Phone Tracking Ends Up Leaking Location Data

Company Selling Real-Time Cell Phone Tracking Ends Up Leaking Location Data

19-05-18 07:46:00,

On Tuesday we covered a disturbing story from the New York Times and detailing how some of the country’s largest cellular providers have been selling your real-time location information, allowing a Texas-based prison technology company, Securus, to track any phone “within seconds” – all without a warrant – through an intermediary called LocationSmart. 

Now, as KrebsOnSecurity reports, in addition to a story from Motherboard on a hacker which had broken into the Securus servers and stolen the usernames, email addresses, phone numbers and other information of 2,800 users – mostly law enforcement, it turns out that a flaw in LocationSmart’s tracking demo website gave anyone the ability to surveil anyone else’s cell phone on the open web.

Several hours before the Motherboard story went live, KrebsOnSecurity heard from Robert Xiao, a security researcher at Carnegie Mellon University who’d read the coverage of Securus and LocationSmart and had been poking around a demo tool that LocationSmart makes available on its Web site for potential customers to try out its mobile location technology. –KrebsOnSecurity

The demo, which has since been taken down, was a free service that would give anyone the approximate location of their own cell phones by entering their name, email address and phone number into a form. LocationSmart’s service would then text the supplied phone number and request permission to ping that device’s nearest cellular tower. Once consent was obtained, the service would then reveal the subscriber’s approximate latitude and longitude on a Google Street View map. 

As Krebs notes, “It also potentially collects and stores a great deal of technical data about your mobile device. For example, according to their privacy policy that information “may include, but is not limited to, device latitude/longitude, accuracy, heading, speed, and altitude, cell tower, Wi-Fi access point, or IP address information.” 

But according to Xiao, a PhD candidate at CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, this same service failed to perform basic checks to prevent anonymous and unauthorized queries. Translation: Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about how Web sites work could abuse the LocationSmart demo site to figure out how to conduct mobile number location lookups at will, 

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