Does Facebook Have a Joe Biden Problem?

Last week the Democratic party took control of all three branches of the U.S. government — and the BBC’s North America technology reporter notes they dislike Facebook even more now than during the Cambridge Analytica scandal:

Since then, Democrats — Joe Biden included — have been appalled by what Facebook has allowed on its platform. Talking to a CNN anchor in late 2019 Joe Biden said, “You can’t do what they can do on Facebook, and say anything at all, and not acknowledge when you know something is fundamentally not true. I just think it’s all out of hand.” When you’re a billionaire, perhaps it doesn’t matter that the president doesn’t like you much. But what President Biden has a chance to do now is restructure Big Tech and reformulate the relationship that social media companies have with their users.

That could be devastating for Facebook.

Its most obvious problem is the potential repealing of Section 230… Joe Biden has said he wants it removed. In fact, in that same New York Times interview from a year ago he said he wanted it “revoked immediately”. That could spell disaster for Zuckerberg. Suddenly all the things people post, all of the defamatory and fraudulent things people say — would be the responsibility of Facebook. It’s hard to see how Facebook functions in its current form without Section 230.

And that’s before we get into Facebook’s anti-trust problems. It’s currently being sued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 46 states for “illegally maintaining its monopoly position” by buying up the competition. The FTC has also said it’s looking at “unwinding Facebook’s prior acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp” — i.e. breaking the firm up. Facebook will, of course, fight that. But Biden seems a pretty willing ally to those who want to split up Big Tech. In 2019, he said that breaking up companies such as Facebook was “something we should take a really hard look at”.
Jameel Jaffer, a media legal expert at Columbia University, told me: “I would expect the Biden administration to be pretty aggressive in enforcing the anti-trust laws. And to have the whole spectrum of harms in mind, not just the democratic harms, but harms relating to user privacy and consumer welfare.”

President Biden is even reportedly thinking of creating an anti-trust tsar, designed specifically to restore competition in areas like Big Tech.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Does Facebook Have a Joe Biden Problem?

Hacker Group Reportedly Leaks Sensitive Data of 2.28 Million People Registered on Dating Site MeetMindful

Millions of users of the dating site MeetMindful got some unpleasant news on Sunday. ZDNet reported that the hacker group ShinyHunters, the same group who leaked millions of user records for the company that listed the “Camp Auschwitz” shirts, has dumped what appears to be data from the dating site’s user database. …

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Source: Gizmodo – Hacker Group Reportedly Leaks Sensitive Data of 2.28 Million People Registered on Dating Site MeetMindful

Dropping WhatsApp? Despite Privacy Concerns, Nostalgia Drives Users to ICQ

Here’s an interesting tidbit from The Wall Street Journal:
ICQ was a pioneering, mid-1990s internet messaging service then used on bulky PCs on dial-up. It was a precursor to AOL Instant Messenger, and was last in vogue when the TV show “Friends” was in its prime and PalmPilots were cutting edge.

It’s been modernized over the years, and now is an app for smartphones. Lately it has skyrocketed up Hong Kong’s app charts, with downloads jumping 35-fold in the week ending Jan. 12.

“It recalls my childhood memories,” said 30-year-old risk consultant Anthony Wong, who used ICQ when he was in grade school. He has since connected with more than two dozen friends on the platform after some bristled this month at a privacy policy update by WhatsApp that would allow some data to be stored on parent Facebook Inc.’s servers.

Back in 1998 Slashdot’s CmdrTaco wrote a story about ICQ being ported to Palm Pilot, and linked to a Wired story about ICQ security flaws.
In fact, you can almost tell the history of ICQ just with Slashdot headlines.

– AIM and ICQ to be Integrated (2002)
– Russian Company Buys ICQ (2010)

What’s happened since? ICQ’s entry on Wikipedia cites a 2018 article in a Russia newspaper.

According to a Novaya Gazeta article published in May 2018, Russian intelligence agencies have access to online reading of ICQ users’ correspondence. The article examined 34 sentences of Russian courts, during the investigation of which the evidence of the defendants’ guilt was obtained by reading correspondence on a PC or mobile devices. Of the fourteen cases in which ICQ was involved, in six cases the capturing of information occurred before the seizure of the device.

The reason for the article was the blocking of the Telegram service and the recommendation of the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Herman Klimenko to use ICQ instead.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Dropping WhatsApp? Despite Privacy Concerns, Nostalgia Drives Users to ICQ

Dropping WhatsApp? Despite Security Concerns, Nostalgia Drives Users to ICQ

Here’s an interesting tidbit from The Wall Street Journal:
ICQ was a pioneering, mid-1990s internet messaging service then used on bulky PCs on dial-up. It was a precursor to AOL Instant Messenger, and was last in vogue when the TV show “Friends” was in its prime and PalmPilots were cutting edge.

It’s been modernized over the years, and now is an app for smartphones. Lately it has skyrocketed up Hong Kong’s app charts, with downloads jumping 35-fold in the week ending Jan. 12.

“It recalls my childhood memories,” said 30-year-old risk consultant Anthony Wong, who used ICQ when he was in grade school. He has since connected with more than two dozen friends on the platform after some bristled this month at a privacy policy update by WhatsApp that would allow some data to be stored on parent Facebook Inc.’s servers.

Back in 1998 Slashdot’s CmdrTaco wrote a story about ICQ being ported to Palm Pilot, and linked to a Wired story about ICQ security flaws.
In fact, you can almost tell the history of ICQ just with Slashdot headlines.

– AIM and ICQ to be Integrated (2002)
– Russian Company Buys ICQ (2010)

What’s happened since? ICQ’s entry on Wikipedia cites a 2018 article in a Russia newspaper.

According to a Novaya Gazeta article published in May 2018, Russian intelligence agencies have access to online reading of ICQ users’ correspondence. The article examined 34 sentences of Russian courts, during the investigation of which the evidence of the defendants’ guilt was obtained by reading correspondence on a PC or mobile devices. Of the fourteen cases in which ICQ was involved, in six cases the capturing of information occurred before the seizure of the device.

The reason for the article was the blocking of the Telegram service and the recommendation of the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Herman Klimenko to use ICQ instead.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Dropping WhatsApp? Despite Security Concerns, Nostalgia Drives Users to ICQ

Andrew Yang Proposes a Local Currency, Sees Growing Support for Universal Basic Income

In March Andrew Yang’s nonprofit gave $1,000 one-time grants to a thousand residents in the Bronx. This week a new article in the New Yorker asks one of those grant recipients how they feel about Yang’s newest proposal as he runs to be New York’s mayor: to give the city’s public-housing residents billions of dollars in a “Borough Bucks” currency that would hopefully recirculate in the community:

“I was like, you know, am I the only person here that would love to live in a society where we can actually barter our talents and skills, instead of depending on this economy that’s not working for us?”

Yang made a similar point when I asked him about the origins of the Borough Bucks proposal. “If you’re going to invest resources in a community, your preference is that the resources circulate within the community, particularly if you can serve multiple goals,” he said. “They’re just imaginative ways for communities to unlock resources.”
The article also notes that in an earlier run for the U.S. presidency, “his pitch was that the economy needed to be modernized to account for automation and other technological advances. In his mayoral run, his pitch is that New York City should become the ‘anti-poverty’ city.” But they explored the larger question of whether Yang sees a growing acceptance for universal basic incomes:

I asked Yang about the debate, now happening in Congress, about whether Biden should push for fourteen-hundred-dollar stimulus checks in the next bailout package, or two-thousand-dollar checks, or two thousand dollars a month until the economy rebounds. Yang said that he favored the last proposal.

I asked him how he felt about the fact that even as other candidates in the race were attacking him, several — Eric Adams, the former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales, and the City Council member Carlos Menchaca — had expressed interest in the U.B.I. policies he had championed. “I would love to check out their plans,” Yang said. “It’s an idea whose time has come. I’m certainly very proud to have contributed to the idea’s popularity, but anyone who wants to adapt a version of it, like, fantastic.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Andrew Yang Proposes a Local Currency, Sees Growing Support for Universal Basic Income

Godzilla vs. Kong trailer is a rock ‘em, sock ’em monster mashup

Two powerful forces of nature collide in a battle for the ages in Godzilla vs. Kong, premiering simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on March 26, 2021.

It’s powerful Titan pitted against Titan in the first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong, the fourth film released as part of Legendary Picture’s “MonsterVerse” franchise, co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Directed by Adam Wingard, the film is not meant to be a remake of the 1962 Japanese classic, King Kong vs. Godzilla; rather, per Wingard, it will directly tie into the events of its 2019 predecessor, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and feature a “more rugged” and aging Kong.

(Some spoilers for some prior films in the MonsterVerse franchise below.)

The MonsterVerse franchise started in 2014 with Godzilla, in which a soldier tries to return to his family while caught in the crossfire of the battle between Godzilla and a pair of parasitic monsters known as MUTOs. The studio followed up three years later with Kong: Skull Island, set in 1973, in which a team of scientists and soldiers travel to the titular Skull Island and encounter Kong, the last survivor of his species. And in 2019, the studio released Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 film, in which Godzilla and Mothra team up to defeat a prehistoric alien named King Ghidorah, who has awakened other ancient creatures (Titans) to destroy the world.

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Source: Ars Technica – Godzilla vs. Kong trailer is a rock ‘em, sock ’em monster mashup

Michael Dorn's Idea for a Worf-Centric Star Trek Series Sound Pretty Cool

Michael Dorn has been playing Star Trek’s Whorf for a long time, off and on, and he’s maintained an interest in the franchise the whole time. He’d love to come back with the character, and he has just the idea to do it.

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Source: io9 – Michael Dorn’s Idea for a Worf-Centric Star Trek Series Sound Pretty Cool

Despite SolarWinds Cyberattack, Microsoft's Azure Business Predicted to Benefit

“Microsoft Corp. was wrapped into a massive cybersecurity attack late last year,” reports MarketWatch, “but the unprecedented intrusion may actually end up being a positive for the company’s bottom line.”

UBS analyst Karl Keirstead, who has a buy rating and a $243 price target, said while Microsoft products were leveraged by hackers in the attack on SolarWinds Corp.’s Orion IT management software, because they are commonplace, “the broader cyber-security community are not pointing fingers at Microsoft.”

Keirstead noted that the attack actually drove more customers into public cloud infrastructures like Azure, Amazon.com Inc.’s and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud “given a view that cloud data centers are more secure and that constantly patching/updating on-premise software like Orion presents a security risk that can be transferred to Microsoft, Amazon or Google.”

“Bottom line, we believe this cyber-security attack could be a modest net positive for Microsoft,” Keirstead said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Despite SolarWinds Cyberattack, Microsoft’s Azure Business Predicted to Benefit

Netflix delivers 'studio-quality' sound upgrade for Android viewers

Don’t be surprised if Netflix sounds nicer the next time you marathon a show on your Android phone. Netflix has upgraded its Android app to stream audio in xHE-AAC (Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC; yes, it’s a mouthful), promising “studio-quality” so…

Source: Engadget – Netflix delivers ‘studio-quality’ sound upgrade for Android viewers

Apple: If You Have a Medical Device, Keep It a 'Safe Distance' Away from the iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories

Although Apple has long acknowledged that its iPhone 12 lineup and MagSafe accessories may interfere with medical devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators, it released additional guidance for people who use medical devices on Saturday. The message: Keep your iPhone 12 and MagSafe accessories a safe distance away…

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Source: Gizmodo – Apple: If You Have a Medical Device, Keep It a ‘Safe Distance’ Away from the iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories