How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views

from kottke.org Kurzgesagt’s newest video is about all the stolen video content on Facebook and the social network’s continued indifference to and profit from content creators, particularly small and independent creators. Facebook just announced 8 billion video views per day. This number is made out of lies, cheating and worst of all: theft. All of this is wildly known but the media giant Facebook is pretending everything is fine, while damaging independent creators in the process. How does this work? Hank Green wrote an essay in August called Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video. According to a recent report from Ogilvy and […]

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How The NSA Can Break Trillions Of Encrypted Web And VPN Connections

from ars technica For years, privacy advocates have pushed developers of websites, virtual private network apps, and other cryptographic software to adopt the Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange as a defense against surveillance from the US National Security Agency and other state-sponsored spies. Now, researchers are renewing their warning that a serious flaw in the way the key exchange is implemented is allowing the NSA to break and eavesdrop on trillions of encrypted connections. The cost for adversaries is by no means modest. For commonly used 1024-bit keys, it would take about a year and cost a “few hundred million dollars” to crack […]

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Google Adopts Single Sign-On For More Desktop, Mobile Apps

from Infoworld Google is expanding its identity service to provide single sign-on for more desktop and mobile applications. With enhanced OpenID Connect Identity Provider support, Google Apps administrators will be able to add single sign-on capabilities to mobile apps and to SaaS apps available through the Google Apps Marketplace, said Shashank Gupta, product manager for Google Apps for Work. Google also added support for Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 for popular SaaS providers and made it easier for administrators to add custom SAML app integrations. Organizations are increasingly adopting single sign-on because it improves corporate application security. Employees don’t […]

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What Really Keeps Women Out of Tech

from NYTs TECHNOLOGY companies know they have a gender and diversity problem in their work force, and they are finally taking steps to try to fix it. But where are those new employees going to come from if women and minority students aren’t opting to study computer science or engineering? Figuring out why people who choose not to do something don’t in fact do it is like attempting to interview the elves who live inside your refrigerator but come out only when the light is off. People already working for a company might tell you what makes them unhappy. But […]

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Obama Administration Won’t Seek Encryption-Backdoor Legislation

from ars technica FBI Director James Comey told a congressional panel that the Obama administration won’t ask Congress for legislation requiring the tech sector to install backdoors into their products so the authorities can access encrypted data. Comey said the administration for now will continue lobbying private industry to create backdoors to allow the authorities to open up locked devices to investigate criminal cases and terrorism. “The administration has decided not to seek a legislative remedy now, but it makes sense to continue the conversations with industry,” Comey told a Senate panel of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Thursday. Comey’s […]

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Behind the European Privacy Ruling That’s Confounding Silicon Valley

from NYTs On Tuesday, when Max Schrems won a landmark privacy case in the European Court of Justice, Edward J. Snowden told him on Twitter that he had “changed the world for the better.” Penny Pritzker, the United States commerce secretary, had a different opinion, saying the decision “puts at risk the thriving trans-Atlantic digital economy.” The brouhaha, however, had little evident effect on the apparently imperturbable Mr. Schrems. “I expected this,” said Mr. Schrems, a 28-year-old graduate student in law at the University of Vienna who, for the formal reading of the decision, wore jeans and an untucked button-down […]

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How Chicago Got Smart About Sensors

from BackChannel I’ve been excited about the Array of Things?—?a network of beautifully-designed sensors poised to capture and make public real-time, non-personal data about the livability of a city?—?ever since it (they?) started following me on Twitter in June 2014. A sensor network with a personality and a public service mission?—?what more could a responsive city want? I was happy to let it follow me, and followed it back so I could read its tweets. This month, the Array of Things moved several giant steps closer to becoming a crucial general-purpose, worldwide sensor data infrastructure for researchers and policymakers. New […]

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3-D Printed Gun Lawsuit Starts the War Between Arms Control and Free Speech

from Wired THIS WEEK MARKS the two-year anniversary since Cody Wilson, the inventor of the world’s first 3-D printable gun, received a letter from the State Department demanding that he remove the blueprints for his plastic-printed firearm from the internet. The alternative: face possible prosecution for violating regulations that forbid the international export of unapproved arms. Now Wilson is challenging that letter. And in doing so, he’s picking a fight that could pit proponents of gun control and defenders of free speech against each other in an age when the line between a lethal weapon and a collection of bits is […]

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New Reports Describe More Mass Surveillance and Schemes to Undermine Encryption

from Wired THE NEWS OF government mass surveillance keeps coming, as two more stories reveal that spy agencies in the US and the UK plotted to record the browsing habits of every internet user.  First up is a story from The Intercept about Karma Police, a seven-year-old program launched by the British spy agency GCHQ designed to catalog visits to porn sites, social media and news sites, as well as activity on search engines, chat forums, and blogs. As previously reported, GCHQ has tapped more than 200 undersea cables as part of its spying partnership with the NSA, siphoning gigabytes of data each day. […]

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Phone And Laptop Encryption Guide: Protect Your Stuff And Yourself

from ars technica The worst thing about having a phone or laptop stolen isn’t necessarily the loss of the physical object itself, though there’s no question that that part sucks. It’s the amount of damage control you have to do afterward. Calling your phone company to get SIMs deactivated, changing all of your account passwords, and maybe even canceling credit cards are all good ideas, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Using strong PINs or passwords and various Find My Phone features is a good place to start if you’d like to limit the amount of cleanup you […]

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Your BMW or Benz Could Also Be Vulnerable to That GM OnStar Hack

from Wired IF YOU THOUGHT your pricey Benz or Bimmer had escaped the rash of recent hacks affecting Chrysler and GM cars, think again.  When security researcher Samy Kamkar revealed a bug in GM’s OnStar service last month that allowed a hacker to hijack its RemoteLink smartphone app, he warned that GM wouldn’t be the only target in an increasingly internet-connected auto industry rife with security flaws. Now Kamkar’s proven himself correct: He’s found that the internet services of three other carmakers suffer from exactly the same security issue, which could allow hackers to unlock vehicles over the internet, track them in some […]

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Privacy And Advertising In Windows 10: Both Sides Of The Story

from Infoworld While Microsoft’s been collecting personally identified information of various kinds for more than a decade, Windows 10’s going to turn that trickle into a gusher. You can curb some of the data-gathering proclivities with various tools and websites, but you won’t be able to turn it off entirely without disabling some features that you’ll probably want to use. And no matter how you shake it, Windows needs access to that info in order to provide you with the services you likely want. The decrease in privacy and concomitant increase in advertising in Windows 10 is a multi-edged sword. […]

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At Least One State has a (Fiber) Backbone

from Medium Backchannel Maybe you remember Sir Boss, aka Hank Morgan, the leading character in one of Samuel Clemens’s, aka Mark Twain’s, most famous books. He begins his story this way: “I am an an American. I was born and reared in Hartford, Connecticut. So I am a Yankee of the Yankees?—?and practical; yes, and nearly barren of sentiment.” The book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, is (among many other things) a close look at the sweeping technological change Clemens/Twain saw happening around him in late-19th century Hartford. The country was industrializing, and Hank was an industrial innovator. He […]

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The Hackathon Fast Track, From Campus to Silicon Valley

from NYTs Shariq Hashme squints at his laptop screen as he scrolls through hundreds of lines of computer code. “I can’t even make sense of it right now,” he says with a grimace. The long string of numbers, symbols and letters would usually be intelligible to Mr. Hashme, a 21-year-old computer science major at the University of Maryland, College Park, but at this moment, he’s having trouble even keeping his eyes open. In the last 27 hours, he has slept just two. It’s 2:37 a.m. on a Sunday, and he is toiling alongside 671 young software engineers who are camped […]

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China’s Dangerous Digital Agenda

from Project Syndicate When the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba listed on the New York Stock Exchange late last year, it became the world’s 17th largest publicly traded company overnight, with a market capitalization of $230 billion – larger than Amazon, eBay, or Facebook. Europe, however, seems to have missed the news. Indeed, instead of responding to China’s digital rise, the European Union has remained fixated on the global success of American platforms like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, even threatening punitive actions against them. A couple of months after Alibaba’s IPO, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution to prevent online companies like […]

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Socrates in Silicon Valley

from Project Syndicate If Socrates’s gadfly was in Silicon Valley, it would have a lot of lazy horses to sting. The citizens of the techno-polis appear oblivious to how the outside world’s perception of them has changed, and radically so. Once universally revered as a hotbed of innovation, the world’s premier technology hub is increasingly viewed with suspicion and resentment. Yes, Silicon Valley is still admired as a source of invention and creative destruction; but it is also widely viewed as having lost its ethical compass. With proliferating reports of lax attitudes toward data privacy, wanton disregard for the dignity of the […]

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The Mercedes Robo-Car That Made Me Want to Stop Driving

from Wired ONE SUNNY DAY last week, I drove from my office in San Francisco over the Bay Bridge, down Interstate 880 and into a parking lot at the defunct Alameda Naval Air Station. I was late, so I wasn’t exactly driving cautiously. I weaved through traffic going 15 mph over the speed limit, alternating between tailgating and passing cars on the right. Because I didn’t know where I was going and didn’t take the time to plug the address in the car’s nav system, I had my eyes glued to my phone for much of the trip.  I was an example […]

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Think Your Email’s Private? Think Again

from TED Sending an email message is like sending a postcard, says scientist Andy Yen in this thought-provoking talk: Anyone can read it. Yet encryption, the technology that protects the privacy of email communication, does exist. It’s just that until now it has been difficult to install and a hassle to use. Showing a demo of an email program he designed with colleagues at CERN, Yen argues that encryption can be made simple to the point of becoming the default option, providing true email privacy to all. More here.

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What Seamless Would Be Like If Only It Could Reduce Human Interaction Even Further

from co.CREATE In the sci-fi future depicted in films of the ’70s and ’80s, video phones were all the rage. Now that the reality of video calling is upon us, though, most people resoundingly prefer to reserve FaceTime for a select few, and keep everyone else at audio-visual arm’s length. We bristle at having to do customer service tasks over the phone when we scarcely rise above text message-level with our closest friends, which is perhaps why Seamless has become so popular. The online food delivery service brings meals to your door with a minimal amount of human contact. Now […]

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The Tricorder, An All-In-One Diagnostic Device, Draws Nigh

from readwrite After pushing back deadlines by a few months, the 10 remaining teams in the Tricorder X Prize are nearing the day they will deliver a device that can diagnose 15 diseases and other basic health information through at-home tests. The teams are scheduled to deliver working prototypes in June to a UC-San Diego study that will test the devices on patients with known medical disorders to measure their accuracy. “We’re pretty confident that the majority of the 10 finalist teams will actually be able to deliver,” senior director Grant Company said. “Some may merge, and some may fall out, just because they can’t […]

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