The Windows 10 Privacy Settings You Should Check Right Now

from Wired If you’re at all concerned about the privacy of your data, you don’t want to leave the default settings in place on your devices—and that includes anything that runs Windows 10. Microsoft’s operating system comes with a variety of controls and options you can modify to lock down the use of your data, from the information you share with Microsoft to the access that individual apps have to your location, camera, and microphone. Check these privacy-related settings as soon as you’ve got your Windows 10 computer set up—or now, in case you’re a longtime user who hasn’t gotten […]

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Fearing 2020 ‘Deepfakes,’ Facebook Will Launch Industry AI ‘Challenge’

from Fast Company Facebook wants to be ready for a deepfake outbreak on its social network. So the company has started an industry group to foster the development of new detection tools to spot the fraudulent videos. A deepfake video presents a realistic AI-generated image of a real person saying or doing fictional things. Perhaps the most famous such video to date portrayed Barack Obama calling Donald Trump a “dipshit.” Facebook is creating a “Deepfake Detection Challenge,” which will offer grants and awards in excess of $10 million to people developing promising detection tools. The social network is teaming up with Microsoft and […]

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An Artificial-Intelligence First: Voice-Mimicking Software Reportedly Used In A Major Theft

from WaPo Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists. The managing director of a British energy company, believing his boss was on the phone, followed orders one Friday afternoon in March to wire more than $240,000 to an account in Hungary, said representatives from the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company. The request was “rather […]

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5G is Coming — Here’s How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage It

from readwrite Sprint’s recent launch of its 5G network in Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas; Houston; and Atlanta offers consumers and entrepreneurs a glimpse into the future. As rapid download speeds and seamless connectivity take hold in cities around the world, tech entrepreneurs will have more opportunities than ever before to make an impact. With 11.5 million people having access to Sprint’s network already, imagine what will be possible as that number grows. 5G will unlock new opportunities in every space. The healthcare, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing industries will all be significantly more capable of innovation and growth as these networks take shape. More here.

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Facebook’s Role in Brexit

from TED In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past? ?   More here.

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Password1, Password2, Password3 No More: Microsoft Drops Password Expiration Rec

from ars technica For many years, Microsoft has published a security baseline configuration: a set of system policies that are a reasonable default for a typical organization. This configuration may be sufficient for some companies, and it represents a good starting point for those corporations that need something stricter. While most of the settings have been unproblematic, one particular decision has long drawn the ire of end-users and helpdesks alike: a 60-day password expiration policy that forces a password change every two months. That reality is no longer: the latest draft for the baseline configuration for Windows 10 version 1903 […]

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The Only Way To Rein In Big Tech Is To Treat Them As A Public Service

from The Guardian After years of praising their virtues, governments across the world are belatedly waking up to the problems posed by big tech. From India and Australia to France and America – and now the UK, with its report from the Digital Competition Expert Panel – politicians have been reckoning with how to mitigate the harms of the world’s largest technology platforms. And they all seem to arrive at the same answer: competition is the magic mechanism that will somehow tame the giants, unleash innovation and fix our digital world. But what if competition is the problem rather than […]

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15 Months Of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook

from Wired THE STREETS OF Davos, Switzerland, were iced over on the night of January 25, 2018, which added a slight element of danger to the prospect of trekking to the Hotel Seehof for George Soros’ annual banquet. The aged financier has a tradition of hosting a dinner at the World Economic Forum, where he regales tycoons, ministers, and journalists with his thoughts about the state of the world. That night he began by warning in his quiet, shaking Hungarian accent about nuclear war and climate change. Then he shifted to his next idea of a global menace: Google and […]

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How to Scan Your Airbnb for Hidden Cameras

from Slate Over the weekend, news outlets reported that a New Zealand man named Andrew Barker had found a camera, hidden in a smoke detector, in his Airbnb that was livestreaming a feed of the living room. Barker was in Cork, Ireland, on a 14-month trip around Europe with his family when they checked into the rental house. Once they unpacked, Barker, who works in IT security, conducted a scan of the Wi-Fi network and found a camera the owner had not mentioned. He was then able to connect to the camera and view the live feed. The next day, […]

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Turing Award Won by 3 Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence

from NYTs In 2004, Geoffrey Hinton doubled down on his pursuit of a technological idea called a neural network. It was a way for machines to see the world around them, recognize sounds and even understand natural language. But scientists had spent more than 50 years working on the concept of neural networks, and machines couldn’t really do any of that. Backed by the Canadian government, Dr. Hinton, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto, organized a new research community with several academics who also tackled the concept. They included Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University, […]

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Is Big Tech Merging With Big Brother? Kinda Looks Like It

from Wired A friend of mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work. When he offered to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by […]

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How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Science

from Quanta No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day — and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet. The deluge has many scientists turning to artificial intelligence for help. With minimal human input, AI systems such as artificial neural networks — computer-simulated networks of neurons that mimic the function […]

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The Biggest Hacking Risk? Your Employees

from readwrite This January, a hacker broke into Ethereum Classic, one of the more popular cryptocurrencies, and began rewriting transaction histories. Until recently, blockchains were considered unhackable, but it’s clear that cybercriminals always find vulnerabilities. Here’s the lesson: If a blockchain can be hacked, no one is immune to the threat of cybercrime. And businesses are frequently exposed in unexpected ways. One of the easiest vectors for a cyberattack is employee negligence. Easily avoidable mistakes, such as using the same passwords at home and at work, put company data at risk. According to a report from information security company Shred-it, […]

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How to Do a Data ‘Cleanse’

from NYTs If we need a checkup on our health, our finances or our cars, we can find doctors, accountants or mechanics. But who checks up on our digital lives? There’s no such thing as 10,000-mile scheduled maintenance for your hard drive or an oil change for your smartphone. You’re on your own. Some people go years without giving their data much thought. As we start a new year, here’s one more item to wedge onto your New Year New You list: a comprehensive checkup on your own data. Following these four steps takes some time and attention, but it’s […]

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Apple And Stanford Medicine Announce Full Results From Apple Watch Heart Study

from 9to5 Mac Apple and Stanford Medicine today announced the results of the Apple Heart Study. The study enrolled over 400,000 participants, making it the “largest study ever of its kind,” according to Apple. The findings were presented in New Orleans this morning. The goal of the study, Apple says, was to evaluate Apple Watch’s irregular rhythm notification. If an irregular rhythm was detected, participants received a telehealth consultation with a doctor and an electrocardiogram patch for additional supervision. As for the results, Stanford Medicine researchers say the Apple Heart Study showed 0.5 percent of the 419,093 participants received an irregular […]

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What Every VPN Provider Is Missing

from Fast Company I don’t know a lot about security, but I do know that when I use public Wi-Fi—whether on my phone, tablet, or laptop—I should be protecting my traffic with a virtual private network. For those unfamiliar with VPNs, the concept is basically that you use a simple piece of software to open up a private channel to a trusted server, through which you route all your browsing, email, uploading, and downloading, etc. A good VPN keeps your identity private, your data secure and helps mask your location, even from the provider of the internet connection you’re using […]

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No, Data Is Not The New Oil

from Wired “Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. Whether in The New York Times, The Economist, or WIRED, the wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data. The metaphor has even assumed political implications. Newly installed California governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed an ambitious “data dividend” plan, whereby companies like Facebook or Google would pay their users a fraction of the revenue derived from the users’ data. Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes laid out a […]

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Amazon Filed A Patent Application For Tech That Could Link You To Your Identity And Job

from Buzzfeed.News Amazon has filed a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that could one day scan your face and identify who you are, use visual cues to figure out the kind of work you do, and potentially track you as you move around. The patent application, which was filed in August 2017 and made public on Thursday, offers insight into Amazon’s possible ambitions for Rekognition — the company’s powerful facial recognition tool that it has aggressively pitched to law enforcement agencies across the US. While a patent application doesn’t necessarily mean that Amazon plans to implement the […]

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The Real Reason Tech Struggles With Algorithmic Bias

from Wired Are machines racist? Are algorithms and artificial intelligence inherently prejudiced? Do Facebook, Google, and Twitter have political biases? Those answers are complicated. But if the question is whether the tech industry doing enough to address these biases, the straightforward response is no. Warnings that AI and machine learning systems are being trained using “bad data” abound. The oft-touted solution is to ensure that humans train the systems with unbiased data, meaning that humans need to avoid bias themselves. But that would mean tech companies are training their engineers and data scientists on understanding cognitive bias, as well as how […]

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