German politicians targeted in mass data attack

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 05 January 2019
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The leak appears to have originated on a Twitter account operated from Hamburg and the authorities in the north German city say they are now working with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner to stop the spread of German politicians' data.

Although nothing politically explosive is known to have been leaked, the sheer volume of personal data involved suggests the consequences could be considerable, says Michael Götschenberg, a reporter for German broadcaster RBB, who researched the attack.

UK-based expert Graham Cluley said the breadth of the latest attack suggested it was a co-ordinated effort involving a determined group over many months.

"This hack clearly isn't about extortion or financially motivated. This is about attempting to destabilise Germany society," he told the BBC.

It is suprising to see how many instantly consider this an attack on democracy "to destabilise Germany society". For now it looks like it is nothing more than what happens all the time online: weak passwords allow access to personal data. However, this one affects politicians and celebrities and not the average John and Jane Does; suddenly, data protection is their personal problem. Interestingly, this happened at the same time when digitalization officer Dorothee Bär wants to weaken data protection to make it easier for companies in the healthcare sector to handle private data of patients.

Mozilla Looks to Improve Email With 2019 Thunderbird Roadmap

Found on eWEEK on Friday, 04 January 2019
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In July 2012 after nearly a decade of trying to get traction for Thunderbird, Mozilla Chief Mitchell Baker announced that Mozilla would pull back its focus and funding from Thunderbird. At that point, many assumed that Thunderbird was done, but that's not quite how things have turned out.

"So here we are, in 2019. Looking into the future, this year looks bright for the Thunderbird project," Ryan Sipes, community manager for the Thunderbird project, wrote in a blog post.

If Mozilla handles Thunderbird like they do Firefox, then there is nothing to look forward to.

Nokia 9 leak shows off all five rear cameras

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 03 January 2019
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The rear camera setup features seven holes housing five cameras, with the extra two holes used for an LED flash and what looks to be a sensor cluster. For the first time, a video from MySmartPrice gives us an idea of what all of these cameras are actually supposed to do: it promises the phone will take "5 simultaneous shots," which will result in "10x more light captured" compared to a regular camera sensor.

How do you know that a telephone is at the end of it's evolution? It gets stuffed full of gadgets that have absolutely nothing to do with what it is meant to be.

Netflix removes comedy episode after Saudi complaint

Found on BBC News on Wednesday, 02 January 2019
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Netflix has removed from its streaming service in Saudi Arabia an episode of a satirical comedy that was critical of the kingdom's rulers.

In the episode that was removed, Minhaj criticises Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

In the episode, Minhaj also criticises Saudi involvement in the conflict in Yemen.

In other words, Netflix helps hiding the truth.

Mickey Mouse will be public domain soon—here’s what that means

Found on Ars Technica on Tuesday, 01 January 2019
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On January 1, 2024, we'll see the expiration of the copyright for Steamboat Willie—and with it Disney's claim to the film's star, Mickey Mouse. The copyrights to Superman, Batman, Disney's Snow White, and early Looney Tunes characters will all fall into the public domain between 2031 and 2035.

Most copyrighted works become commercially worthless within a decade or two. But a small minority of famous works from the 1920s and 1930s were still generating significant revenues in the 1990s. Retroactively extending copyright terms meant an enormous windfall for the companies and families that owned the copyrights.

Copyright should end with the death of the creator, if not sooner. There is no reason to lock content away for decades.

The 6 reasons why Huawei gives the US and its allies security nightmares

Found on Technology Review on Monday, 31 December 2018
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The detention in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO and the daughter of its founder, is further inflaming tensions between the US and China. Her arrest is linked to a US extradition request.

Behind this very public drama is a long-running, behind-the-scenes one centered on Western intelligence agencies’ fears that Huawei poses a significant threat to global security.

In its defense, Huawei can point to the fact that no security researchers have found back doors in its products. “There’s all this concern, but there’s never been a smoking gun,” says Paul Triolo of the Eurasia Group.

The US and Europe are at fault for the problem, so they cannot complain at all. Over the past decades, more and more production has been outsourced to China because it was cheaper there thanks to non-existing protection of workers. At the same time, these industry sectors have been rooted out on the homelands. It's been obvious from the beginning, but greed and "free market" ignore common sense in favor of money.

Could You Live Without Your Smartphone?

Found on Slashdot on Sunday, 30 December 2018
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For example, Tony North does not live for his smartphone, because he's never had one. "I just didn't want to get into the habit of distraction," he says simply, in an interview conducted over landline from his home in Paris, Ontario.

North says in the extra time "he reads many novels and enjoys quiet moments of reflection and watching the world go by." And 18-year-old Bethany March is also severely limiting her phone use. ''I saw the way that people got so invested, not just in their phones, but in social media, and I didn't want to be that person," she says. "So many times people would be zeroed in on their phones. It was just rude, to be honest. I'd think, 'I'm here with you, talk to me.'"

Yes, it is easy to live without a smartphone. There is no need to be available 24/7/365.

Most shoppers mistrust influencers, says survey

Found on BBC News on Saturday, 29 December 2018
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In the research for BBC Radio 4, 82% of people who took part said it was not always clear when an influencer had been paid to promote a product.

The growth of social media over the past decade has changed marketing and advertising in many ways. A major part of that has been the rise of "social influencers".

The top 10 beauty influencers are all earning hundreds of thousands of pounds from their online posts.

When it comes to classic TV, everybody is annoyed by ads and switches to another channel. Online, people install popup blockers to avoid ads. At the same time, they follow the next generation salesmen who are touting products nobody needs. Billy Mays would be so happy.

Millions Upon Millions Of 'Takedown' Notices To Google... For Links That Aren't Even In Google

Found on Techdirt on Friday, 28 December 2018
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For years, the RIAA and MPAA have pointed to the millions upon millions of takedown notices sent to Google as "evidence" that the DMCA notice-and-takedown process doesn't work.

Google removed none of the links requested. Obviously, it can't remove the non-indexed ones, but it appears that even when they were in Google's index, they were deemed non-infringing or, in some cases, duplicates to URLs that had already been received in earlier takedowns.

Of all of the latest requests from the RIAA, I noticed that, once again, it shows no removals by Google. Why? Because the RIAA is submitting duplicates of URLs already removed.

Wait, the entertainment industry is lying and making up numbers? Gosh, who would have thought of that?

Facebook's leaked rulebooks highlight struggle with content moderation

Found on CNet News on Friday, 28 December 2018
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The documents published Thursday by the Times are purportedly used to advise thousands of moderators about how to deal with any content that may be deemed problematic and "distill highly complex issues into simple yes-or-no rules." The moderation work is outsourced and the Times notes that some moderators rely on Google Translate to make split-second decisions on what is deemed hate speech or not.

"In an effort to control problems of its own creation, it has quietly become, with a speed that makes even employees uncomfortable, what is arguably one of the world's most powerful political regulators," according to the story.

Expect Zucky to sweat into cameras and apologize again, and again, and again while carrying on with its business.