Fake news is scarier than ever, blockchain struggles with scaling & online privacy still an issue

Fake news: you ain’t seen nothing yet

Brace yourself for more sophisticated fake news. It’s now possible create videos of conversations or speeches that never happened.

Mr Klingemann did not fiddle with editing software to make it. Instead, he took only a few days to create the clip on a desktop computer using a generative adversarial network (GAN), a type of machine-learning algorithm. His computer spat it out automatically after being force fed old music videos of Ms Hardy. It is a recording of something that never happened.

Facebook can track your browsing even after you’ve logged out

The judge said plaintiffs could have taken steps to keep their browsing histories private (by using ad blockers or the “incognito mode”) and apparently failed to show that Facebook illegally “intercepted” or eavesdropped on their communications. I call bullshit!

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Facebook of tracking users’ web browsing activity even after they logged out of the social networking site. The plaintiffs alleged that Facebook used the “like” buttons found on other websites to track which sites they visited, meaning that the (…) company could build up detailed records of their browsing history. The plaintiffs argued that this violated federal and state privacy and wiretapping laws. US district judge (…) dismissed the case because he said that the plaintiffs failed to show that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or suffered any realistic economic harm or loss.

Websites offering pirated papers are shaking up science

I don’t know where to stand: I love that knowledge gets shared freely but at the same time the work that has been put in it should be rewarded. Curious to read your opinion on this.

Record companies and film studios have had to learn to live with internet piracy. Despite their best attempts to close sites or co-opt them, pirated copies of their wares are easily available. Increasingly, the same is true of scientific papers. On June 21st a court in New York awarded Elsevier, a big scientific publisher, $15m in damages for copyright infringement by Sci-Hub and the Library of Genesis, two websites that offer tens of millions of scientific papers and books for anyone to download.

The Medicare machine: patient details of ‘any Australian’ for sale on darknet

Not a day passes without a new massive data breach. It’s time for companies and governments to get their act together and start taking security seriously. I know nothing is 100% hackerproof but a lot of those recent breaches could have easily been prevented.

A darknet trader is illegally selling the Medicare patient details of any Australian on request by “exploiting a vulnerability” in a government system, raising concerns that a health agency may be seriously compromised. (…) The reference to “exploiting a vulnerability” suggests that the Medicare records are being accessed in real time, which is likely to cause serious concerns within health government agencies about whether their systems are compromised.

China’s bloggers, filmmakers feel chill of internet crackdown

Censorship doesn’t seem to improve in China…

China’s latest maneuvre in a sweeping crackdown on internet content has sent a chill through a diverse community of filmmakers, bloggers, media and educators who fear their sites could be shut down as Beijing tightens control. Over the last month, Chinese regulators have closed celebrity gossip websites, restricted what video people can post and suspended online streaming, all on grounds of inappropriate content. (…) Topics deemed inappropriate include drug addiction and homosexuality.

Technology

Clean Energy, powered by Blockchains

Fascinating perspective on blockchain and how we could leverage its principles for sustainable energy. 🔥

Imagine a town that has decided to go completely off the energy grid. Like always, not all the houses in the town get an equal proportion of sunlight on their roofs. Take any street. Houses on one side get ample sunlight, and the houses on the other side don’t. Instead of complaining, the town decides to do something about it together. The houses that get ample sunlight install the solar panels and the batteries. The cables from those solar panels go to every house in the town, thus, turning the whole city into what I’d like to call a Local Energy Grid

Why Algorithms Suck and Analog Computers are the Future

See how algorithmic computing doesn’t scale well when it comes to problems requiring immense amounts of processing power and how analog computers might be the solution.

Analog computing, which was the predominant form of high-performance computing well into the 1970s, has largely been forgotten since today’s stored program digital computers took over. But the time is ripe to change this. (…) “Analog” derives from the Greek word “analogon” which means “model”. And that’s exactly what an analog computer is: A model for a certain problem that can then be used to solve that very problem by means of simulating it.

Fourth largest Bitcoin exchange. Bithumb, hacked for billions of Won

Oh, this sucks!

A cyber attack late last week resulted in the loss of billions of won from customers accounts. According to a major local newspaper, the Kyunghyang Shinmun, one victim alone claimed that “bitcoins worth 10 million won” in his account “disappeared instantly.” A survey of those who lost money from the hack reveals “it is estimated that hundreds of millions of won have been withdrawn from accounts of one hundred investors. One member claims to have had 1.2 billion won stolen.”

Amazon and eBay images broken by Photobucket’s ‘ransom demand’

Photobucket changing its policy had people think there was a ransom demand.

Thousands of images promoting goods sold on Amazon and other shopping sites have been removed after a photo-sharing service changed its terms. (…) The problem has been caused by Photobucket introducing a charge for allowing images hosted on its platform to be embedded into third-party sites. The company caught many of its members unaware with the change, prompting some to accuse it of holding them to ransom. (…) Photobucket is now seeking a $399 (£309) annual fee from those who wish to continue using it for “third-party hosting” and is facing a social media backlash as a consequence.

Scaling Ethereum to Billions of Users

Tokens are selling at valuations which imply they’ll have millions of users. But can the blockchain support it? If not, how far away are we?

The biggest bottleneck to solving scalability is the number of people working on the problem. If current efforts are well executed, Ethereum could be ready for a 1–10m user app by the end of 2018.

🔨 Web development / Web design

Accessibility according to actual people with disabilities

If you ever had to work on websites’ accessibility, you know how complicated and a little abstract it can sometimes get. Here is why it matters and what accessibility should be about. ⚠️

“If you have a disability, what’s the hardest thing about browsing the web?” The answers to Safia Abdalla’s tweet are truly eye-opening and shows us what web accessibility should really be about.

Why is decentralized and distributed file storage critical for a better web?

The team behind IPFS and Filecoin explain how distributed data storage and market incentives are combining to create a more secure and efficient web.

How to defend your website with ZIP bombs

This guy has decided to fight fire with fire. It’s a little nasty but genius. I love it!

So it turns out ZIP compression is really good with repetitive data so if you have a really huge text file which consists of repetitive data like all zeroes, it will compress it really good. Like REALLY good. As 42.zip shows us it can compress a 4.5 peta byte (4.500.000 giga bytes) file down to 42 kilo bytes. When you try to actually look at the content (extract or decompress it) then you’ll most likely run out of disk space or RAM.

Bits and pieces

Why the Future of Stuff Is Having More and Owning Less: “If we can deliver these intangibles anytime, anywhere, to anybody, that instant aspect of them means we don’t have to own them anymore.” fascinating perspective. On the IoT front:** medical sensors have been missing in the Rasberry Pi realm** for a while but apparently, the Healthy Pi** fixed it**!

IFTTT just introduced the Data Access Project, you can now use applets to connect to government open data like economy, cyber security, health and travel alerts, public transit, and more. For the computer science geeks, check out this incredible Google Sheets Virtual Machine and this other version using only formulas!

Take a little walk down memory lane with this Minitel history lesson, Minitel: The Online World France Built Before the Web. Read more about Toni Reid, the woman behind Amazon’s Alexa. And finally, an important lesson from Maria, she’s not a woman in tech!