Why Can’t People Teleport?

from Wired LET’S FACE IT: Nobody likes to travel. Whether they’re traveling to get to an exotic location for vacation or traveling to work on a daily commute, nobody actually likes the part where they have to travel. The people who say they like to travel probably mean they like to arrive. That’s because being somewhere can be really fun: seeing new things, meeting new people, getting to work sooner so you can go home early and read physics books. The actual traveling part is usually a drag: getting ready, rushing, waiting, rushing some more. Whoever said “it’s the journey, […]

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The Next Cyberattack Is Already Under Way

from The New Yorker In the nightmare, sirens caterwaul as ambulances career down ice-slicked, car-crashed streets whose traffic lights flash all three colors at once (they’ve been hacked by North Korea) during a climate-catastrophic blizzard, bringing pandemic patients to hospitals without water or electricity—pitch-black, all vaccinations and medications spoiled (the power grid has been hacked by Iran)—racing past apartment buildings where people are freezing to death in their beds, families huddled together under quilts, while, outside the darkened, besieged halls of government, men wearing fur hats and Kevlar vests (social media has been hacked by Russia), flashlights strapped to their […]

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How to Completely Disappear From the Internet

from pcmag Some might say the internet was built on anonymity, paving the way for a place where free speech reigns supreme. But after years of learning about who’s snooping into everything we do online, privacy on the web is hardly a given. It’s not just about government spying; it’s also about how much data big companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected in order to serve up targeted ads—not to mention how much of your personal data gets scooped up in all the breaches and hacks. There are always going to be good reasons for people to go online […]

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How a Mistake by YouTube Shows Its Power Over Media

from NYTs The email subject line that arrived at 10:19 a.m. on Tuesday carried some of the worst information a small online news outlet can receive: “Novara Media we have removed your channel from YouTube.” Novara had spent years using YouTube to attract more than 170,000 subscribers for its left-leaning coverage of issues like climate change, capitalism and social policy. Suddenly, and without warning, that powerful distribution tool was zapped — leaving people in the newsroom wondering how the organization could survive. “We had this ambient awareness of our dependence on these big tech platforms,” Ash Sarkar, a contributing editor, […]

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‘The Problem Is Him’ Kara Swisher On Mark Zuckerberg’s Crisis And Ours

from NY Mag When Vietnam’s communist rulers gave Facebook an ultimatum to censor anti-government posts earlier this year or leave the country, Mark Zuckerberg personally made the call to appease them. It’s among the damning revelations about the company to emerge from whistleblowers in recent weeks, most of them contained in the so-called Facebook Papers. The trove shows how Facebook knowingly amplified anger and misinformation about the platform and the company’s engineers chillingly identified ways to manipulate the behavior of its 3.5 billion users, meaning about half the planet’s population may ultimately be swayed by the whims of one man. […]

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Facebook Who? Zuckerberg Announces Rebranding As Meta

from ars technica During his Connect 2021 keynote presentation today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out the name “Meta” as a new corporate identity reflecting the company’s “new north star—to help bring the metaverse to life.” The name, which Zuckerberg noted comes from the Greek word for “beyond,” is “a new company brand to encompass everything that we do.” That means the company will be “looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for a family of apps and one for work on future platforms,” he said. The name “Facebook,” Zuckerberg said, “just doesn’t encompass everything we […]

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Hackers Keep Targeting the US Water Supply

from Wired IN LIGHT OF all the Facebook news lately—although frankly, when isn’t there any—you may finally be thinking about jumping ship. If so, here’s how to delete your Facebook account. You’re welcome. That’s not all that happened this week, though! Google shed some new light on the Iranian hacking group known as APT35, or Charming Kitten, and how they use Telegram bots to let them know when a phishing lure has a nibble. Speaking of Telegram, a new report shows just how poor a job the messaging service has done keeping extremism off the platform. There was good news […]

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Shift Your Tech Time Horizon

from Seth’s Blog Ten years ago, if you were as good at using networks and software as you are today, most of your peers would have considered you some sort of wizard. The question isn’t whether or not each of us is going to get better at using our tools, the only issue is: how soon? We can choose to live behind the curve or ahead of it. It turns out that there are significant rewards for pushing through discomfort and getting (much) better at all the resources that are suddenly freely available in data acquisition, learning technologies, financial tech, […]

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FCC Plans To Rein In “Gateway” Carriers That Bring Foreign Robocalls To Us

from are technica The Federal Communications Commission hopes to reduce the number of illegal robocalls from overseas with an expansion of rules that require phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication technology and block illegal calls. “Eliminating illegal robocalls that originate abroad is one of the most vexing challenges the commission faces because of the difficulty in reaching foreign-based robocallers and the foreign voice service providers that originate their traffic,” the FCC said. To make a dent in that problem, the FCC is proposing new requirements on domestic gateway providers that accept calls from outside the US. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking […]

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Google Is Getting Caught In The Antitrust Net

from ars technica Being a global company has its perks. There’s a lot of money to be made overseas. But the biggest US tech companies are finding out that there’s also a downside: every country where you make money is a country that could try to regulate you. It’s hard to keep track of all the tech-related antitrust action happening around the world, in part because it doesn’t always seem to be worth paying close attention to. In Europe, which has long been home to the world’s most aggressive regulators, Google alone was hit with a $2.7 billion fine in 2017, […]

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Beware State Surveillance Of Your Lives – Governments Can Change For The Worse

from The Guardian In the summer of 2013, shortly after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance capabilities of the American National Security Agency (NSA) began to appear, I had a private conversation with a former cabinet minister about the implications of the leaks. At one stage, I mentioned to him a remark attributed to a prime architect of some of the NSA systems – that they had taken the US to “a keystroke away from totalitarianism”. The MP scoffed at the idea. What I needed to remember, he told me, in that superior tone that toffs adopt when speaking to […]

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The White House Responded to the Chinese Hacks of the Microsoft Exchange Servers This Week. Is It Enough?

from Lawfare The Biden administration formally accused the Chinese government this week of carrying out the hacks of the Microsoft Exchange email server software, the details of which came to light in early March. In a joint statement with the European Union, NATO and several other U.S. allies, the White House placed blame for the hacks squarely on the shoulders of the contractors of China’s civilian intelligence agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), and accused the Chinese government of supporting “irresponsible and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace.” In conjunction with the White House’s statement, the Justice Department on July 19 […]

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Venmo Gets More Private—but It’s Still Not Fully Safe

from Wired VENMO, THE POPULAR mobile payment service, has redesigned its app. That’s normally news you could safely ignore, but this announcement is worth a closer look. In addition to making some navigational tweaks and adding new purchase protections, the PayPal-owned platform is finally shutting down its global social feed, where the app published transactions from people around the world. It’s an important step toward resolving one of the most prominent privacy issues in the world of apps, but the work isn’t finished yet. Venmo’s global feed has for years been a font of voyeuristic insights into the financial habits […]

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Is Our Machine Learning? Ars Takes A Dip Into Artificial Intelligence

from ars technica Every day, some little piece of logic constructed by very specific bits of artificial intelligence technology makes decisions that affect how you experience the world. It could be the ads that get served up to you on social media or shopping sites, or the facial recognition that unlocks your phone, or the directions you take to get to wherever you’re going. These discreet, unseen decisions are being made largely by algorithms created by machine learning (ML), a segment of artificial intelligence technology that is trained to identify correlation between sets of data and their outcomes. We’ve been […]

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Design Of Hiring Algorithms Can Double Diversity In Firms

from Fast Company We know that algorithms can outperform humans across an expanding range of settings, from medical diagnosis and image recognition to crime prediction. However, an ongoing concern is the potential for automated approaches to codify existing human biases to the detriment of candidates from underrepresented groups. For example, hiring algorithms use information on workers they have previously hired in order to predict which job applicants they should now select. In many cases, relying on algorithms that predict future success based on past success will lead firms to favor applicants from groups that have traditionally been successful. But this […]

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The iOS COVID-19 App Ecosystem Has Become A Privacy Minefield

from ars technica When the notion of enlisting smartphones to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of COVID-19-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that has made the COVID-19 app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls. Late last month, Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital […]

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Zoom Finally Has End-to-End Encryption.

from Wired ZOOM HAS GONE from startup to verb in record time, by now the de facto video call service for work-from-home meetings and cross-country happy hours alike. But while there was already plenty you could do to keep your Zoom sessions private and secure, the startup has until now lacked the most important ingredient in a truly safe online interaction: end-to-end encryption. Here’s how to use it, now that you can, and why in many cases you may not actually want to. It’s been a long road to get here. This spring, as Zoom rode the pandemic to video […]

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Dear Congress: Platform Accountability Should Not Threaten Online Expression

from ACLU Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing entitled “Does Section 230 Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” This is just the latest attempt by Congress and the Trump administration to amend, reinterpret, or eliminate Section 230, a key provision of federal law that generally ensures online platforms, including social media, can’t be held liable for the speech and content their users post on these platforms. This law means Yelp can’t be held legally responsible every time one of its users posts a false negative review. The Bed Bug Registry doesn’t have to visit every hotel with a […]

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Boston Dynamics’ Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs … Yet

from Wired IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO talk about Boston Dynamics robots without acknowledging two things: They’re a marvel of modern engineering, and their agility can be incredibly unnerving. A 46-second video of Spot the robot “dog” opening a door has more than 56 million views on YouTube. Atlas, the company’s headless humanoid robot, can go for a jog or do parkour. And just last week, the company released new footage of Spot the robot recharging on its own. (If it sounds like a Black Mirror episode, well, that’s because it sort of is.) But even as many observers joke about a […]

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