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  1. #826

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    Pro-Trump message board “quarantined” by Reddit following violent threats

    By Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg June 26 at 2:52 PM

    The biggest forum for supporters of President Trump on Reddit has been “quarantined” following months of incitements to violence and other offensive behavior, the tech giant said Wednesday, in a move that could further inflame conservatives’ claims of social-media bias.

    The forum, called “r/The_Donald,” has long served as a highly trafficked and controversial gathering place for supporters of Trump and Republicans on Reddit, America’s fifth-most popular website.

    Created in 2015, “The_Donald” counts roughly 750,000 followers and advertises itself as “a never-ending rally dedicated to the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.”

    Reddit officials said on Wednesday that the board had allowed or encouraged months of “rule-breaking behavior,” including the “encouragement of violence towards police officers and public officials in Oregon.”

    “We are clear in our sitewide policies that posting content that encourages or threatens violence is not allowed,” Reddit spokeswoman Anna Soellner said in a statement to The Washington Post.

    “We are sensitive to what could be considered political speech,” Soellner added, but “recent behaviors including threats against the police and public figures is content that is prohibited by our violence policy.”

    The action will effectively demote the forum on Reddit, restricting how its content is shared across the site and removing key features. It is not an outright ban, but will conceal the forum behind a warning and require viewers to verify they are sure they want to view its contents.

    Quarantines are rare punishments imposed on only the forums Reddit has deemed most offensive or upsetting. Past quarantines have been imposed on forums devoted to white supremacy, Sept. 11 conspiracy theories and videos of fatal violence.

    The message board has long trafficked in edgy “trolling” and offensive behavior, promoting anti-Semitic memes and baseless conspiracy theories, including that victims of the Parkland school shooting were “crisis actors.”

    Some of the top threads on “r/The_Donald” Wednesday criticized E. Jean Carroll, the author who recently accused Trump of rape, and called Megan Rapinoe, the U.S. soccer star whom Trump had criticized, a “human leech.”

    Reddit is a link-sharing and discussion site where readers can submit and vote on posts; the most “upvoted” posts are promoted more widely across the site. The site’s forums, known as “subreddits,” operate independently from the company and are overseen by volunteer moderators, who are expected to follow sitewide rules banning violent threats, harassment and other prohibited content.

    The forum’s moderators tweeted on Wednesday that the company had moved to “totally suppress” the forum “on the eve of the Democrat Debates.” In a post on the forum, the moderators said the company has “set up an impossible standard as a reason to kill us before the 2020 election.”

    Forum moderators had in weeks past changed elements of the “subreddit,” removing the down-vote button and changing the “Report” button, which allows people to flag potential rule-breaking content, to say “Deport.”

    The “quarantine” move comes on the same day President Trump launched his latest attack against Silicon Valley. He threatened a potential lawsuit against Facebook and Google, without providing much detail, and accused Google of trying to rig the election. The company has repeatedly denied that claim.

    Trump also accused Twitter of limiting the reach of his tweets and censoring other conservative users, a charge the tech giant has long denied. The White House on Wednesday also announced it would gather “digital leaders” next month to talk about social media but did not elaborate on who would be in attendance.

    The White House did not immediately offer comment on the Reddit move.

    Tony Romm contributed to this report.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

    ― Frank Zappa

  2. #827

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    In case you were wondering if it was just's not.

    Twitter is down worldwide

    Twitter is currently out of order with nary a fail whale in sight. Tweets aren't loading in the app or on desktop for several Engadget editors, while Down Detector had a massive spike in outage reports. We'd check reports from users on Twitter, but, y'know, that's a little tough at the minute. "We are currently investigating issues people are having accessing Twitter," a spokesperson told Engadget.

  3. #828

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    I believe it's back now. Interesting that it went down when Tiny's "social media summit" was about to get underway...

    Let me in. Please?

    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

    ― Frank Zappa

  4. #829

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    FaceApp adds decades to your age for fun, but the popular, Russian-owned app raises privacy concerns

    By Hannah Denham July 17 at 12:08 PM

    If you’re wondering why your social media feed is being flooded by photos of wrinkle-enhanced celebrities and (suddenly) old friends, thank FaceApp.

    Personalities as varied as Drake, LeBron James, Gordon Ramsey and the Jonas Brothers have tapped the photo-editing app to fuel the future-self craze on Instragram, Facebook and Twitter. FaceApp has altered photos for more than 80 million users since its 2017 release.

    Users can download the app (free for a three-day trial) from the Apple App Store or Google Play, upload or take photos, and choose from 21 editing options. You can look older or younger, swap gender, add a smile or adopt a new hairstyle.

    FaceApp differs from other photo-editing applications because it uses artificial intelligence to alter the photo, instead of slapping a filter on top of it.

    The app is owned by Wireless Lab, a company based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has legal jurisdiction in Santa Clara County, Calif., according to its privacy terms.

    But before downloading the app, keep in mind that under its privacy terms it can collect:

    Any photos or other content that is uploaded and posted.

    Information on the websites you visit and how you use the app. The disclosure said it doesn’t identify individual users.

    Cookies and data to share with third-party advertisers to deliver targeted advertising to your device.

    Your IP address, browser type, referring/exit pages and URLs; the number of clicks and how you interact with links on the app; and domain names, landing pages, pages you view, what emails you open every time you access the FaceApp application or website.

    Founder and chief executive Yaroslav Goncharov told TechCrunch that FaceApp uses Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud to store uploaded photos. The company said in a statement that this is used to evaluate performance and traffic, and that most images are deleted from the servers within 48 hours, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday.

    But even if you delete content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, according to its privacy terms. FaceApp also says it can’t guarantee your data or information is secure. The company can share your information with its other affiliated companies and third-party advertisers, which aren’t disclosed in the privacy terms.

    The company said in its statement that users who want to remove their data from FaceApp can make the request through the app by clicking “Settings,” then “Support,” then “Report a bug” with “privacy” in the subject line.

    “Our support team is currently overloaded, but these requests have our priority,” the company statement read.

    FaceApp’s privacy terms say it can share information with a government agency if a subpoena, court order or search warrant is issued and that the company has “a good faith belief that the law requires” it to do so.

    And this information can also be shared to any country that FaceApp maintains facilities in, including Russia.

    “The user data is not transferred to Russia,” the company said, even though that’s where the company is based.

    However, it noted in its privacy terms, “By accessing or using our Services, you consent to the processing, transfer and storage of information about you in and to the United States and other countries, where you may not have the same rights and protections as you do under local law."

    Baptiste Robert, a French security researcher who uses the pseudonym Elliot Alderson, said he looked into the traffic between FaceApp on his phone and the Internet to understand how the network operates for users.

    He found that only photos that are uploaded and modified are saved to the server, not the user’s entire camera roll. But he also said he didn’t think the app was compliant with the European Union’s new privacy rule, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    “When you upload your photo, you have no idea how your photo is used,” Robert said, noting that the app’s terms and conditions are vague. “Don’t rush to use this application, because you don’t know how your data is used after that.”

    Kate O’Neill, a tech consultant, said FaceApp’s privacy terms are still murky, despite the company’s clarification.

    “People should be savvy about when apps and memes and games are encouraging everyone to engage in the same way,” she said. “It puts the data in a vulnerable state that becomes something that can train facial recognition and other kinds of systems that may not be intended the way people are using it.”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

    ― Frank Zappa

  5. #830
    Everyday Warrior MJ2004's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    LOL - resourceful!

    On a side note, we replaced our 15 year old dumb refrigerator last week... with another dumb refrigerator. It keeps food cold and makes ice. It does not tweet or otherwise connect to the outside world.

  6. #831

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by MJ2004 View Post
    LOL - resourceful!

    On a side note, we replaced our 15 year old dumb refrigerator last week... with another dumb refrigerator. It keeps food cold and makes ice. It does not tweet or otherwise connect to the outside world.
    I'm starting to look for a new one now. Had no idea tech was invading fridges so much. With the exception of someone with a disability, completely confused on why people need their refrigerators to be smart.

  7. #832
    Everyday Warrior MJ2004's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNU View Post
    I'm starting to look for a new one now. Had no idea tech was invading fridges so much. With the exception of someone with a disability, completely confused on why people need their refrigerators to be smart.
    From the appliance makers' perspective (certainly not mine) it makes sense that the refrigerator is the smarthub in the kitchen. It has the most available real estate at eye level, and in theory the tech can be used to order groceries, etc.

    BTW, we bought an Electrolux and are very happy with it. I think Samsung and LG are the forerunners in smartfridges.

  8. #833

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    I'm getting old... Can't see the point of a fair bit of new technology.
    Roger forever

  9. #834

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    Doorbell-camera firm Ring has partnered with 400 police forces, extending surveillance reach

    By Drew Harwell August 28 at 8:49 AM

    The doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged video-sharing partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners’ camera footage and a powerful role in what the company calls the nation’s “new neighborhood watch.”

    The partnerships let police automatically request the video recorded by homeowners’ cameras within a specific time and area, helping officers see footage from the company’s millions of Internet-connected cameras installed nationwide, the company said. Officers don’t receive ongoing or live-video access, and homeowners can decline the requests, which Ring sends via email thanking them for “making your neighborhood a safer place.”

    The number of police deals, which has not previously been reported, is likely to fuel broader questions about privacy, surveillance and the expanding reach of tech giants and local police. The rapid growth of the program, which began in spring 2018, surprised some civil liberties advocates, who thought that fewer than 300 agencies had signed on.

    Ring is owned by Amazon, which bought the firm last year for more than $800 million, financial filings show. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

    Ring officials and law enforcement partners portray the vast camera network as an irrepressible shield for neighborhoods, saying it can assist police investigators and protect homes from criminals, intruders and thieves.

    “The mission has always been making the neighborhood safer,” said Eric Kuhn, the general manager of Neighbors, Ring’s crime-focused companion app. “We’ve had a lot of success in terms of deterring crime and solving crimes that would otherwise not be solved as quickly.”

    But legal experts and privacy advocates have voiced alarm about the company’s eyes-everywhere ambitions and increasingly close relationship with police, saying the program could threaten civil liberties, turn residents into informants, and subject innocent people, including those who Ring users have flagged as “suspicious,” to greater surveillance and potential risk.

    “If the police demanded every citizen put a camera at their door and give officers access to it, we might all recoil,” said Andrew Guthrie Ferguson, a law professor and author of “The Rise of Big Data Policing.”

    By tapping into “a perceived need for more self-surveillance and by playing on consumer fears about crime and security,” he added, Ring has found “a clever workaround for the development of a wholly new surveillance network, without the kind of scrutiny that would happen if it was coming from the police or government.”

    Begun in 2013 as a line of Internet-connected “smart doorbells,” Ring has grown into one of the nation’s biggest household names in home security. The company, based in Santa Monica, Calif., sells a line of alarm systems, floodlight cameras and motion-detecting doorbell cameras starting at $99, as well as monthly “Ring Protect” subscriptions that allow homeowners to save the videos or have their systems professionally monitored around the clock.

    Ring users are alerted when the doorbell chimes or the camera senses motion, and they can view their camera’s live feed from afar using a mobile app. Users also have the option of sharing footage to Ring’s public social network, Neighbors, which allows people to report local crimes, discuss suspicious events and share videos from their Ring cameras, cellphones and other devices.

    The Neighbors feed operates like an endless stream of local suspicion, combining official police reports compiled by Neighbors’ “News Team” with what Ring calls “hyperlocal” posts from nearby homeowners reporting stolen packages, mysterious noises, questionable visitors and missing cats. About a third of Neighbors posts are for “suspicious activity” or “unknown visitors,” the company said. (About a quarter of posts are crime-related; a fifth are for lost pets.)

    Users, which the company calls “neighbors,” are anonymous on the app, but the public video does not obscure faces or voices from anyone caught on camera. Participating police officers can chat directly with users on the Neighbors feed and get alerts when a homeowner posts a message from inside their watched jurisdiction. The Neighbors app also alerts users when a new police force partners up, saying, “Your Ring Neighborhood just got a whole lot stronger.”

    To seek out Ring video that has not been publicly shared, officers can use a special “Neighbors Portal” map interface to designate a time range and local area, up to half a square mile wide, and get Ring to send an automated email to all users within that range, alongside a case number and message from police.

    The user can click to share their Ring videos, review them before sharing, decline or, at the bottom of the email, unsubscribe from future footage-sharing requests. “If you would like to take direct action to make your neighborhood safer, this is a great opportunity,” an email supplied by Ring states.

    Ring says police officers don’t have access to live video feeds and aren’t told which homes use Ring cameras or how homeowners responded unless the users consent. Officers could previously access a “heat map” showing the general density of where Ring devices were in use, but the company said it has removed that feature from the video request because it was deemed “no longer useful."

    Ring said it would not provide user video footage in response to a subpoena but would comply if company officials were presented with a search warrant or thought they had a legal obligation to produce the content. “Ring does not disclose customer information in response to government demands unless we’re required to do so to comply with a legally valid and binding order,” the company said in a statement.

    Ring users consent to the company giving recorded video to “law enforcement authorities, government officials and/or third parties” if the company thinks it’s necessary to comply with “legal process or reasonable government request,” its terms of service state. The company says it can also store footage deleted by the user to comply with legal obligations.

    The high-resolution cameras can provide detailed images of not just a front doorstep but also neighboring homes across the street and down the block. Ring users have further expanded their home monitoring by installing the motion-detecting cameras along driveways, decks and rooftops.

    Some officers said they now look for Ring doorbells, notable for their glowing circular buttons, when investigating crimes or canvassing neighborhoods, in case they need to pursue legal maneuvers later to obtain the video.

    Ring users have shared videos of package thieves, burglars and carjackers in the hope of naming and shaming the perpetrators, but they’ve also done so for people — possibly salespeople, petitioners or strangers in need of help — who knock on the door and leave without incident. (Other recorded visitors include lizards, deer, mantises, snakes and snooping raccoons.)

    Ring users’ ability to report people as suspicious has been criticized for its potential to contribute to racial profiling and heightened community distrust. Last Halloween in southern Maryland, a Ring user living near a middle school posted a video of two boys ringing their doorbell with the title: “Early trick or treat, or are they up to no good?”

    The video, which has been viewed in the Neighbors app more than 5,700 times, inspired a rash of comments: Some questioned the children’s motives, while others said they looked like harmless kids. “Those cuties? You’re joking, right?” one commenter said. After The Post shared this video with Ring, the company removed it, saying it no longer fits the service’s community guidelines because “there is no objective reason stated that would put their behavior in question.”

    Since formally beginning its Neighbors police partnerships with officers in Greenfield, Wis., in March 2018, Ring has extended the program to 401 police departments and sheriff’s offices nationwide, from northwest Washington state to Key West, Fla., company data show.

    The partnerships cover vast expanses of major states — with 31 agencies in California, 57 in Texas and 67 in Florida — and blanket entire regions beneath Ring’s camera network, including about a dozen agencies each in the metropolitan areas surrounding Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

    Sgt. William Pickering, an officer with the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia, which is working with Ring, compared the system’s expansion to the onset of DNA evidence in criminal cases — a momentous capability, unlocked by new technology, that helps police gain the upper hand.

    “We have so many photojournalists out there, and they’re right there when things happen, and they’re able to take photos and videos all the time. As a law enforcement agency, that is of great value to us,” Pickering said.

    “When a neighbor posts a suspicious individual who walked across their front lawn, that allows them at that very moment to share that in real time with anyone who’s been watching. Now we have everybody in the community being alerted to a suspicious person.” (A Ring spokeswoman later said this example would be removed from Neighbors because it does not pass the service’s community guidelines, which require “an attempted criminal activity or unusual behavior that is cause for concern.”)

    Ring has pushed aggressively to secure new police allies. Some police officials said they first met with Ring at a law-enforcement conference, after which the company flew representatives to police headquarters to walk officers through the technology and help them prepare for real-world deployment.

    The company has urged police officials to use social media to encourage homeowners to use Neighbors, and Pickering said the Norfolk department had posted a special code to its Facebook page to encourage residents to sign on.

    Ring has offered discounts to cities and community groups that spend public or taxpayer-supported money on the cameras. The firm also has given free cameras to police departments that can be distributed to local homeowners. The company said it began phasing out the giveaway program for new partners earlier this year.

    Pickering said his agency is working with its city attorney to classify the roughly 40 cameras Ring gave them as a legal donation. But some officers said they were uncomfortable with the gift, because it could be construed as the police extending an official seal of approval to a private company.

    “We don’t want to push a particular product,” said Radd Rotello, an officer with the Frisco Police Department in Texas, which has partnered with Ring. “We as the police department are not doing that. That’s not our place.”

    Ring has for months sought to keep key details of its police-partnership program confidential, but public records from agencies nationwide have revealed glimpses of the company’s close work with local police. In a June email to a New Jersey police officer first reported by Motherboard, a Ring representative suggested ways officers could improve their “opt-in rate” for video requests, including greater interaction with users on the Neighbors app.

    “The more users you have the more useful information you can collect,” the representative wrote. Ring says it offers training and education materials to its police partners so they can accurately represent the service’s work.

    Ring officials have stepped up their sharing of video from monitored doorsteps to help portray the devices as theft deterrents and friendly home companions. In one recent example, a father in Massachusetts can be seen using his Ring Video Doorbell’s speakers to talk to his daughter’s date while he was at work, saying, “I still get to see your face, but you don’t get to see mine.”

    The company is also pushing to market itself as a potent defense for community peace of mind, saying its cameras offer “proactive home and neighborhood security in a way no other company has before.” The company is hiring video producers and on-camera hosts to develop user testimonials and videos marketing the Ring brand, with a job listing stating that applicants should deliver ideas with an “approachable yet authoritative tone.”

    Rotello, who runs his department’s neighborhood-watch program, said Ring’s local growth has had an interesting side effect: People now believe “crime is rampant in Frisco,” now that they see it all mapped and detailed in a mobile app. He has had to inform people, he said, that “the crime has always been there; you’re just now starting to figure it out.”

    He added, however, that the technology has become a potent awareness tool for crime prevention, and he said he appreciates how the technology has inspired in residents a newfound vigilance.

    “Would you rather live in an ‘ignorance is bliss’ type of world?” he said. “Or would you rather know what’s going on?”

    That hyper-awareness of murky and sometimes-distant criminal threats has been widely criticized by privacy advocates, who argue that Ring has sought to turn police officers into surveillance-system salespeople and capitalize on neighborhood fears.

    “It’s a business model based in paranoia,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of the digital advocacy group Fight for the Future. “They’re doing what Uber did for taxis, but for surveillance cameras, by making them more user-friendly. … It’s a privately run surveillance dragnet built outside the democratic process, but they’re marketing it as just another product, just another app.”

    Ring’s expansion also has led some to question its plans. The company applied for a facial-recognition patent last year that could alert when a person designated as “suspicious” was caught on camera. The cameras do not currently use facial-recognition software, and a spokeswoman said the application was designed only to explore future possibilities.

    Amazon, Ring’s parent company, has developed facial-recognition software, called Rekognition, that is used by police nationwide. The technology is improving all the time: Earlier this month, Amazon’s Web Services arm announced that it had upgraded the face-scanning system’s accuracy at estimating a person’s emotion and was even perceptive enough to track “a new emotion: ‘Fear.’ ”

    For now, the Ring systems’ police expansion is earning early community support. Mike Diaz, a member of the city council in Chula Vista, Calif., where police have partnered with Ring, said the cameras could be an important safeguard for some local neighborhoods where residents are tired of dealing with crime. He’s not bothered, he added, by the concerns he has heard about how the company is partnering with police in hopes of selling more cameras.

    “That’s America, right?” Diaz said. “Who doesn’t want to put bad guys away?”
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

    ― Frank Zappa

  10. #835

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

    Yeah, I read about this last week on a tech site I check regularly. Ring was trying to stop police from using the word surveillance in talking about their partnerships. And police get free Ring products, coaching and marketing lines. Seriously. And they don't leave you alone if you don't want to share, and your info is shared with them as they might show up at your door asking for it and they have the option of going to Amazon to bypass your consent as well.

    Not sure if this just got on The Post's radar, but this stuff has been monitored, investigated and reported with for months by the tech news sites. I can post that article if you want. It's all terrifying and people are just buying it like candy.

  11. #836

    Re: Techno-babble Random Random

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