FOIA, Facebook Messenger, Embedded YouTube, More: Wednesday Buzz, October 5, 2016

I read all the news about Yahoo yesterday, and I’m very, very upset. But I want to see more details – and some kind of information from Yahoo – before I post here.


A new Wiki with FOIA information has launched in beta. “FOIA Wiki, from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, includes details on FOIA exemptions and fees, contact information for federal agencies and an open forum for questions.”


Facebook Messenger now supports encryption. “A Facebook spokesperson tells WIRED the company just finished rolling out ‘Secret Conversations’ to all 900 million Facebook Messenger users in the past few weeks. The opt-in feature allows users to encrypt their messages so that no one can read them except the two people on either end of a conversation—not even Facebook or law enforcement or intelligence agencies.”


Amit Agarwal is back with the good stuff! How to Embed YouTube as an Audio Player. “You can embed any YouTube video in your web pages and visitors on your site will be able to play and pause the video audio with a simple click. With this technique, you can also use a YouTube video as background audio that runs in a loop.”

Great list – I want to try most of them right now. From MakeUseOf: 10 Awesome Facebook Messenger Bots You Aren’t Using. “Back in July, we featured some of the best bots you should add to Messenger, but there have been several more added since then. Here’s the best of the rest, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.”

Now available: a decryptor tool for the MarsJoke ransomware. “Victims infected with the MarsJoke ransomware can decrypt their files after researchers last week cracked the encryption in the CTB-Locker lookalike. A trio of researchers from Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Ransom Team–Anton Ivanov, Orkhan Mamedov, and Fedor Sinitsyn–described Monday how errors in the cryptography, a/k/a Polyglot, used in the ransomware enabled them to break it.”


Google is getting until October 31 to reply to antitrust charges from the EU. “Alphabet’s Google has been given until the end of October, the fourth extension, to rebut EU antitrust charges that it uses its dominant Android mobile operating system to block competitors, the European Commission said on Monday.”


From Anonymous Internet Vigilantes Are Taking Peer Review Into Their Own Hands. “Since 2012, the message board PubPeer has served as a sort of 4chan for science, allowing anyone to post anonymous comments on scientific studies. Originally intended as a forum for the discussion of methods and results, PubPeer has perhaps become best known as a clearinghouse for accusations of scientific error, fraud, and misconduct—forcing journals to issue corrections and retractions, damaging careers, and eventually embroiling the site in a court case in which it’s advised by Edward Snowden’s legal team at the American Civil Liberties Union.”

Vox: A bot crawled thousands of studies looking for simple math errors. The results are concerning. “There are a lot of problems in science right now: Publication bias, p-hacking, incentives to publish a quantity of papers over quality papers. Those are big, systemic problems, as we’re outlined extensively here at Vox. But Michèle Nuijten, a PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands who co-created Statcheck, has her sights on fixing a much smaller but surprisingly impactful problem in science: rounding errors.”

EFF: Google’s Allo Sends The Wrong Message About Encryption. “When Google announced its new Allo messaging app, we were initially pleased to see the company responding to long-standing consumer demand for user-friendly, secure messaging. Unfortunately, it now seems that Google’s response may cause more harm than good. While Allo does expose more users to end-to-end encrypted messaging, this potential benefit is outweighed by the cost of Allo’s mixed signals about what secure messaging is and how it works. This has significance for secure messaging app developers and users beyond Google or Allo: if we want to protect all users, we must make encryption our automatic, straightforward, easy-to-use status quo.”

Study: Why do people like Pinterest? “In a study, Pinterest users indicated that the uniqueness of the site and the hand-holding support — scaffolding –were among the gratifications that predicted whether people added — or pinned — content to their Pinterest boards, according to Ruoxu Wang, a doctoral candidate in mass communications, Penn State.” Good morning, Internet…

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