Blog Rolls

This Bot Hunts Software Bugs for the Pentagon

Wired Top Stories - Mon, 06/01/2020 - 07:00
Mayhem emerged from a 2016 government-sponsored contest at a Las Vegas casino hotel. Now it's used by the military—and Netflix.
Categories: Just News

Hurricane Season Collides With Coronavirus, As Communities Plan For Dual Emergencies

In Florida, officials fear widespread confusion when stay-at-home policies conflict with evacuation orders, and they worry about coronavirus spreading in crowded shelters

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Little Progress Made In Trump's Plan For Private Retailers To Test For Coronavirus

The White House promised widespread COVID-19 testing at CVS, Target, Walgreens and Walmart locations nationwide. But months later, testing is being offered at only a tiny fraction of their stores.

(Image credit: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Domestic Abuse Can Escalate In Pandemic And Continue Even If You Get Away

Loosened quarantine restrictions have given some people an opportunity to flee violence at home, but cyberstalking and high unemployment have also made it harder to completely escape after moving out.

(Image credit: Roos Koole/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Restaurant Owner Whose Business Burned Calls For Justice For George Floyd

Somali immigrant Safia Munye opened the Minneapolis restaurant Mama Safia's Kitchen with her retirement savings. It was destroyed. "This can be replaced. George's life cannot," she says.

(Image credit: Jim Urquhart for NPR)

Categories: Just News

Trump Seems Likely To Use Law And Order As A Wedge Issue After George Floyd's Killing

President Trump called Floyd's death a "grave tragedy" that "should never have happened." But once he was back on Twitter, he again inflamed tensions, with machismo and politics at the forefront.

(Image credit: John Locher/AP)

Categories: Just News

2 Tribal Casinos In Connecticut Roll The Dice And Reopen

Gov. Ned Lamont says it's too soon, but the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes say they are taking numerous steps to ensure that Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun are safe for patrons.

(Image credit: Mary Altaffer/AP)

Categories: Just News

Who Dares To Rent A Dress Now? Coronavirus Upends The Sharing Economy

How do you share your car, home or clothing with other people during a pandemic? Companies from Airbnb to Rent The Runway face big challenges convincing customers their services are safe.

(Image credit: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Rent the Runway)

Categories: Just News

Need A Witness For Your Mail-In Ballot? New Pandemic Lawsuits Challenge Old Rules

Among the main targets are requirements such as signing a ballot envelope, or getting a witness or notary to sign it. Small details matter a lot and could affect the outcome in November.

(Image credit: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Violence Escalates As Protests Over George Floyd Death Continue

In Minneapolis, where Floyd died, a semitractor-trailer drove into a crowd of peaceful protesters marching on an interstate. Elsewhere, there were reports of police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

(Image credit: John Minchillo/AP)

Categories: Just News

The technology of witnessing brutality

Axios: “The ways Americans capture and share records of racist violence and police misconduct keep changing, but the pain of the underlying injustices they chronicle remains a stubborn constant.

Driving the news: After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked wide protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, “Thank God a young person had a camera to video it.”

Why it matters: From news photography to TV broadcasts to camcorders to smartphones, improvements in the technology of witness over the past century mean we’re more instantly and viscerally aware of each new injustice.

  • But unless our growing power to collect and distribute evidence of injustice can drive actual social change, the awareness these technologies provide just ends up fueling frustration and despair…”
Categories: Law and Legal

Digital Contact Tracing Technology

CRS report via LC – Digital Contact Tracing Technology:Overview and Considerations for Implementation, May 29, 2020: “Contact tracing” is a public health measure used to control disease spread. Trained public health workers assist patients with an infectious disease recall their close contacts within a given time frame, notify them of potential exposure, and provide advice to patients and contacts. Given the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, some public health authorities are automating part of the tracing process with smartphone applications (apps). Some apps take advantage of Bluetooth signals to track individuals proximity to one another, otherwise known as “digital exposure notification (DEN)” Bluetooth allows short-range wireless communications between electronic devices. Apps may also be used by public health authorities to enable “digital contact tracing” (DCT), which may also use location data…Discussion of U.S. digital contact tracing has identified a number of challenges related to its use, including Bluetooth limitations, app effectiveness versus personal privacy, interoperability,and coverage. Each poses a different challenge to effective use of digital tracing capabilities…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Mapping Police Violence

Police Accountability ToolUse the data on this page to hold Police Chiefs and Mayors accountable for ending police violence in your city. The charts below use data from January 2013 through December 2019 to show which police departments are most – and least – likely to kill people. You can also compare police departments operating in jurisdictions with similar levels of crime to show that, even under similar circumstances, some police departments are much more likely to kill people than others. And after you’ve explored this tool, click here to learn about police violence in your state…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How to take back the information you’ve given to all your favorite apps and websites

Popular Science: “Social media networks know a lot about you. In fact, that’s their primary job. They want to collect information about you and use that to sell advertisements that you can’t resist. In return for your data, these companies give you a chance to interact with other users and share your life no matter how interesting or banal. Recently, instructions have been floating around the web about how to see the secret interests Instagram thinks you want to see ads about. The results are sometimes hilariously wrong, but they can also be worryingly accurate. Your information is a product that companies leverage. In a perfect world, this exchange would result in a harmonious civilization in which people find others with similar interests and we enjoy our hobbies in peace. In real life, however, our information crawls around the dark corners of the web where it’s compromised, sold, leveraged, and otherwise abused. And that’s not even mentioning what happens when one of these social media sites flickers out of existence and takes all of your stuff with it. This article provides a quick primer on how to see what data sites have collected about you, as well as how to download and delete it. It’s handy information to have before the next site shuts down or accidentally tells a bunch of bad guys your favorite movie and your cellphone number…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Eye-catching advances in some AI fields are not real

Science: “Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter. Each iPhone learns your face, voice, and habits better than the last, and the threats AI poses to privacy and jobs continue to grow. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than the core innovations their inventors claim—and some of the gains may not exist at all, says Davis Blalock, a computer science graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Blalock and his colleagues compared dozens of approaches to improving neural networks—software architectures that loosely mimic the brain. “Fifty papers in,” he says, “it became clear that it wasn’t obvious what the state of the art even was.” The researchers evaluated 81 pruning algorithms, programs that make neural networks more efficient by trimming unneeded connections. All claimed superiority in slightly different ways. But they were rarely compared properly—and when the researchers tried to evaluate them side by side, there was no clear evidence of performance improvements over a 10-year period. The result, presented in March at the Machine Learning and Systems conference, surprised Blalock’s Ph.D. adviser, MIT computer scientist John Guttag, who says the uneven comparisons themselves may explain the stagnation. “It’s the old saw, right?” Guttag said. “If you can’t measure something, it’s hard to make it better.”…

Categories: Law and Legal

George Floyd Reverberates Globally: Thousands Protest In Germany, U.K., Canada

The killing of George Floyd has sprung a global movement against inequality and racism; protests were seen over the weekend in the U.K., Germany and Canada.

(Image credit: Matt Dunham/AP)

Categories: Just News

Every bookmark manager ever made

Bookmarkos – “The following is an attempt to categorize every bookmark manager ever made into the following categories: visual-based, list-based, start pages, search-based, tag-based, tab management, read it later, image bookmarking, privacy focused, sync-based, offline downloadable solutions, and other…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening

Politico – Test counts inflated, death tolls deflated, metrics shifted: “Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus’ spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly. In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from POLITICO, other news outlets and the states’ own admissions. Some states have shifted the metrics for a “safe” reopening; Arizona sought to clamp down on bad news at one point by simply shuttering its pandemic modeling. About a third of the states aren’t even reporting hospital admission data — a big red flag for the resurgence of the virus…”

See also BuzzFeed news – “The CDC Released New Death Rate Estimates For The Coronavirus. Many Scientists Say They’re Too Low. Public health experts are accusing the CDC of bending under political pressure to say the coronavirus is less deadly…”

Categories: Law and Legal

EFF’s Guide to Digital Rights During the Pandemic: An eBook

EFF: “As part of EFF’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve edited and compiled our critical thoughts on digital rights and the pandemic into an ebook: EFF’s Guide to Digital Rights and the Pandemic. To get the ebook, you can make an optional contribution to support EFF’s work, or you can download it at no cost. We released the ebook under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0), which permits sharing among users…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Zoom’s New, Stronger Encryption and Security Will Protect Paying Clients Not Free Accounts

Newsweek: “The video-conference app Zoom plans to strengthen the encryption of its service for paying customers, but the upgrade will not be available to users of its free service. The tech company discussed the encryption boost on a call with civil liberties groups earlier this week. Zoom security consultant Alex Stamos later confirmed the details of the reported move in an interview with Reuters, which first reported the changes on Friday. But he also told the news outlet that Zoom’s plans could still change…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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