by on April 6, 2018
  In today’s installment of "I’m Not Terrified, You Are," Bloomberg Law reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.” The details of the attached Request for Information, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press i...
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by on March 22, 2018
Robert Mueller’s team has taken over the investigation of Guccifer 2.0, who communicated with (and was defended by) longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone. Guccifer 2.0, the “lone hacker” who took credit for providing WikiLeaks with stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee, was in fact an officer of Russia’s military intelligence directorate (GRU), The Daily Beast has learned. It’s an attribution that resulted from a fleeting but critical slip-up in GRU tradecraft. That foren...
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by on March 20, 2018
Facebook is having to face the music both in the United States and the United Kingdom after The New York Times and The Observer of London revealed Cambridge Analytica received and employed data harvested from 50 million of the social network's users without their permission. The Federal Trade Commission is launching an investigation.  NYT:  The F.T.C. investigation is connected to a settlement the agency reached with Facebook in 2011. The agency had accused the company of deceivin...
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by on March 6, 2018
There's a fly in the ointment of 'smart government': The emerging problem of biased algorithms. Politicians are struggling to catch up. Late last year, a St. Louis tech executive named Emre Şarbak noticed something strange about Google Translate. He was translating phrases from Turkish -- a language that uses a single gender-neutral pronoun “o” instead of “he” or “she.” But when he asked Google’s tool to turn the sentences into English, they seemed to read like a children’s book out of th...
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by on March 5, 2018
Building on methods they used to assess the impact of hurricanes such as Katrina, Gustav, and Rita on forests and tree mortality, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have produced a rapid mapping of the disturbance intensity across Puerto Rico’s forests with the help of Google Earth Engine. Battered by two intensely powerful storms with sustained wind gusts of more than 150 miles per hour last year – first by Hurricane Irma and then by...
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by on March 5, 2018
Etsy, Foursquare and Kickstarter are among the latest companies going to court over the FCC's decision to roll back the rules for an open internet. People demonstrated in December at FCC headquarters in Washington, DC, against the proposed repeal of net neutrality.  Another half dozen tech companies are jumping into the legal battle over the FCC's decision to undo net neutrality rules. Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Shutterstock, Automattic and Expa filed a petition Monday in a US C...
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by on March 1, 2018
The board also called upon the city to set zoning protections that would prevent overdevelopment Last night, Community Board 3 voted to approve a land use application that would allow for the creation of the proposed Union Square Tech Training Center at 124 East 14th Street, where a P.C. Richard & Son store once resided, reports the Lo-Down. The vote follows a February 9th vote where the board’s land use and economic development subcommittees voted to approve the 21-story commerc...
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by on February 28, 2018
After days of external pressure, YouTube has banned the channel of Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi group tied to multiple killings. As Motherboard reported today, both Atomwaffen’s primary and backup YouTube channels have been banned for “multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy prohibiting hate speech,” according to a site message. The Daily Beastpreviously reported that YouTube planned to keep the videos online, simply demonetizing them and adding a warning about offensive content. Atomwaff...
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by on February 24, 2018
In the future imagined by the Department of Homeland Security, an army of small drones will hover over the southwestern border, outfitted with facial recognition technology that can cull criminal histories of people on the ground. Advanced cameras will instantly identify drivers and passengers as they cross international bridges into Mexico. Artificial intelligence software will comb through the social media accounts of immigrants seeking to enter the country. U.S. Border Patrol agents wa...
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by on February 22, 2018
According to everything we’ve heard, 2018 will be the year that 5G stops being a distantly-whispered myth and starts becoming reality. The standards for 5G have been agreed by the telecoms industry, chip manufacturers have announced when their modems will become available, and the networks are bickering about whose ad campaign is working the best. In short, everything’s going just as we expected. But AT&T has been working to push its timeline just that little bit faster than everyone else...
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by on February 22, 2018
The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order, which vastly curtails the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules, has officially taken effect by being entered the Federal Register. The order, published Thursday morning, may sound like the end of the line, but in fact this is the green light for everyone in the country, from citizens to attorney generals to governors and senators, to begin the official battle against the FCC’s ill-advised, technically backwards, and deeply unpopular rule. Littl...
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by on February 21, 2018
Twitter quietly purged thousands of bots overnight—cutting several prominent pundits’ follower counts down to size. Conservatives were enraged last month when activist James O’Keefe published a series of undercover videos purporting to show Twitter engineers boasting of their ability to “shadow-ban” far-right users, or hide their tweets from appearing online. Those claims were quickly debunked, but fears that Twitter—an alleged bastion of Bay Area liberalism—is censoring conservative sp...
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