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Submission + - By Not Condemning Its Co-Founder, Oculus Effectively Supports White Supremacists (vortex.com) 1

Lauren Weinstein writes: Let’s be very clear about this. Virtual Reality firm co-founder Palmer Luckey, a 24-year-old with some $700 million burning a hole in his pocket thanks to Facebook buying his company and VR headset invention, has every right as an individual to secretly (well, not so secretly now!) bankroll neo-Nazi, white supremacist, pro-Trump hate groups. For the moment at least — assuming racist sociopath Trump isn’t given the keys to the White House and the control of our nuclear arsenal that could destroy civilization — “it’s a free country” as the questionable saying goes.

But what’s not acceptable is for Oculus the company to effectively endorse his actions by not clearly and decisively condemning them.

Submission + - Google's War on Trolls Could Help Save the Internet (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: It has long seemed clear to me that appropriately dealing with the rising tide of trolls and other social media posting abuses would inevitably require an intensifying partnership between automated detection systems and human insights, each bringing different strengths and limitations to the table.

This is why I wholeheartedly support the ongoing efforts of Google (or more precisely, the "Jigsaw" division of Google's parent Alphabet, Inc.) to leverage Google's sophisticated and powerful artificial intelligence assets to help deal with the growing trolling and hate speech scourge.

Submission + - The Downsides of Google's Chrome Security Push (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: While the push to encrypt Internet connections by default is a laudable one, it is also essential that fundamental aspects of practicality and user reactions also be carefully considered.

I touched on some of this over a year ago in “Falling Into the Encryption Trap” — but now that Google has made more explicit their plans for browser address bar warnings to users regarding http: connections, I’m again concerned.

Submission + - Oscar's Ageism and Society's Disposable Workers (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: I’ve long had a policy of avoiding involving myself in Hollywood politics — not always easy having resided here in L.A. for my entire life to date.

But something’s going on with Oscar — or more precisely the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) — that is disturbing both in and of itself, and for what it says about our society at large (including here in the tech world).

Submission + - Network Solutions Still Operates Like a Bunch of Crooks (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: I still have a couple of my oldest Internet domains — including one that turned thirty years old this year and was among the first 40 dot-com domains ever issued — with Network Solutions (NSI) for historical reasons, and I continue to be impressed with the firm’s ability to closely emulate the practices of the worst kind of Internet crooks.

Submission + - A Horrific New Animal Cruelty Commercial from Toyota (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Toyota is running a new TV spot (internally titled “Camping”). It’s already triggering letters and petitions to Toyota to remove it from the air immediately. It’s breathtakingly stupid and could easily trigger dangerous copycats.

Submission + - When Associated Press + Twitter = The Big Lie About Hillary Clinton (vortex.com) 1

Lauren Weinstein writes: We all understand what’s been happening in the news biz. Clicks and eyeballs increasingly come before facts and truth. But to see AP sink to this low level is painful and distressing.

To make matters worse, AP appears to now be channeling Trump himself, refusing to admit that their story was misleading and that their tweet was an outright travesty. They’re refusing to apologize or correct the record, and are displaying much the same sort of intransigence that Trump himself famously displays when caught in misrepresentations, half-truths, or outright lies.

Submission + - When Hiding Passwords Is Stupid — or Worse! (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Except in crucial enterprise environments or especially elevated security situations, it should be common practice for user interfaces to provide a method for the user to see their passwords or other data as they enter it if they choose to do so — a simple enabling checkbox with an appropriate warning would suffice. And this would be the display of the entire password or other input, not just a flash of each letter as it’s being typed.

Submission + - "Does Google Make Junk Solicitation Phone Calls?" (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Google Questions & Unofficial Answers: “Does Google Make Junk Solicitation Phone Calls?”

It seems like almost every day I get junk solicitation phone calls “from Google.” They call about my Google business local listings, about my not being on the first page of Google search results, and so on — and they want me to pay them to “fix” this stuff. When I look up the Caller ID numbers they use, I often finds pages of people claiming they’re Google phone numbers. Sometimes the Caller ID display actually says Google! Is Google really doing this?

Negative. NONE of these calls are from Google. Zero. Zilch. Nada ...

Submission + - Care About Science and Tech? Our Job One: STOP TRUMP (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: But when a publication with the stature of Scientific American raises the red flag about a major presidential candidate, it’s time for everyone in the tech and science fields to take notice and do some serious soul searching.

Because the dangerous, ignorant, fascist, racist, misogynist, continually lying monster that is Donald Trump is significantly of own creation.

We must now come to terms with this truth while we still can, much as ultimately did J. Robert Oppenheimer relating to his key role in the creation of nuclear weapons.

Submission + - Right-Wing Internet Sites in Panic over FBI Smartphone App Solicitation (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Right-wing sites are spinning this as “the government is going to turn all our smartphones into bugs!” That clearly is not the goal here.

First, we know that there are already a large number apps available for these phones that provide many of the capabilities asked for in this solicitation. We can be sure that governments are already using these off-the-shelf apps for surveillance purposes.

But the solicitation technical requirements reveal the government’s main “problems” in this regard: authentication and chain of custody.

Submission + - Was Facebook Correct Blocking Video During Fatal Korryn Gaines Confrontation? (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: The main reason I haven’t commented on this case publicly to date is that, frankly, I’ve been thinking about it and didn’t come to any immediate conclusions.

One way I try to analyze complicated Internet-related issues is to see if I can think of parallels in the “non-Internet” world that might shed some light on the matter.

Such parallels do exist in this case, and suggest that the most problematic aspect of the technology-related portion of this tragedy wasn’t the videos being posted per se, but rather the feedback Gaines was receiving from her followers in real time.

Submission + - How Some ISPs Could Subvert Your Local Network Security (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: You can see the problem. If your local net has typically lax security, and you don’t have your own firewall downstream of that ISP modem, the modem Wi-Fi security could be disabled remotely, your local network sucked dry late one night, and security restored by the morning. You might not even have a clue that any of this occurred.

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