Washington Privacy, Monroe (OH) Yearbooks, WWII Memorials, More: Tuesday Buzz, November 15, 2016


The government of the state of Washington has is launching a new Web site with information on privacy law. “The resulting web tool, called Privacy Modeling, asks what type of data users will be gathering, such as banking information, medical information, or details about a student. The next layer asks what specific data points — date of birth, family information, Social Security number — will be collected. A final step asks whether that data will just be stored, or is bound for sale, publication or other uses.”

Wow! Monroe High School (Monroe, Ohio) is getting a yearbook archive that will span one hundred years! “Monroe students and graduates soon will have a new way to look back on the past. Thanks to a donation from the Monroe class of 1955, the district over the next few years will be building a digital photo and yearbook archive.”

Spotted on Reddit: an online database of post World War II memorials in the former Yugoslavia. I think this site is the work of one guy; he’s doing an excellent job. “In a direct, physical sense, what are commonly referred to as ‘spomenik’ (the Serbo-Croatian/Slovenian word for ‘monument’, the root ‘spomin’ meaning memory) are a series of memorials built from the 1960s-1980s by Tito’s Republic of Yugoslavia, whose primary intent was to honor the events of the National Liberation War (1941-1945) (aka WWII).”


Wow. From Gizmodo: Facebook’s Fight Against Fake News Was Undercut by Fear of Conservative Backlash. “According to two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s decision-making, Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging review of products and policies earlier this year, with the goal of eliminating any appearance of political bias. One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. It’s unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it to be scrubbed.” Facebook’s response was not helpful, and things continue to get more opaque.

I wonder if this’ll include those junky Outbrain-type links? Publisher revenue would plummet. From The New York Times: Google Will Ban Websites That Host Fake News From Using Its Ad Service. “Google announced it would ban websites that peddle fake news from using its online advertising service, a decision that comes as concerns mount over the impact online hoaxes may have had on the presidential election.”

Google Play Music has gotten a makeover. “Building on our commitment to help you find the right music for any moment, today we’re introducing the new Google Play Music — a fresh take on our music streaming service that is smarter, easier to use, and much more assistive. To deliver that, Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what music you like and then mixes in signals like location, activity, and the weather along with hand-picked playlists to personalize music for wherever you are and whenever you want tunes. Starting this week on Android, iOS and the web, the new experience will roll out globally (62 countries, to be precise).”

I remember when Google’s search index hit a billion pages and I was all crazy impressed. Now check this out: Google’s search knows about over 130 trillion pages “That figure is up by 100 trillion pages from when Google first launched this web page back in March 1, 2013. In fact, the original blog post from Google shows the metric of pages back then, which was less than four years ago, to be only 30 trillion pages.”


An effort is underway to create a digital library for the works and papers of science fiction author Harlan Ellison. “Harlan Ellison has never made a secret of his dislike for computers, but as a practical citizen of the 21st century, he has interacted with his friends and readers via for nearly two decades and established an online, print-on-demand imprint (Edgeworks Abbey) to release sixteen all-new compilations of his work at Now it’s time to preserve the Ellison legacy for the digital age with the creation of the Edgeworks Abbey Archive. What is the Edgeworks Abbey Archive? A digital library of Harlan’s entire literary oeuvre created from thousands of papers filed in his home office.”

Remember when I mentioned Google News goofily indexing a story about it giving away its own search engine? There’s is more weirdness in Google News. “If you head to Google to learn the final results of the presidential election, the search engine helpfully walks through the final electoral vote tallies and number of seats won by each party in the House and Senate. Under that, Google lists some related news articles. At the top this morning, with an accompanying photo: a story arguing that Donald Trump won both the popular and electoral votes.” Maybe Google will consider actually releasing a source list for Google News one day…

Good, because I’m not. From TechCrunch: Google’s self-driving cars are naturals when it comes to three-point turns. “Google updates the world monthly on the progress of its self-driving car project, and this month’s update includes the usual stats, like over 2,230,175 miles driven in autonomous mode, as well as an explainer on how the cars handle a tricky task: multi-point turning.”

Hoo boy. Is Apple going to make its own version of Google Glass? “Apple Inc. is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, a risky but potentially lucrative area of wearable computing, according to people familiar with the matter. While still in an exploration phase, the device would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a secret project.” Why hasn’t Apple bought Snapchat?


Threatpost: OAuth 2.0 Hack Exposes 1 Billion Mobile Apps to Account Hijacking. “The researchers examined 600 top U.S. and Chinese Android mobile apps that use OAuth 2.0 APIs from Facebook, Google and Sina—which operates Weibo in China—and support SSO for third-party apps. The researchers found that 41.2 percent of the apps they tested were vulnerable to their attack, including popular dating, travel, shopping, hotel booking, finance, chat, music and news apps. None of the apps were named in the paper, but some have been downloaded hundreds of millions of times and can be exploited for anything from free phone calls to fraudulent purchases.”


In a quick, pithy blog post, Doc Searls calls out Facebook for fake ads. You know the ones – they read something like, “Devastated fans bid farewell to Mary Tyler Moore” – leading you to believe she has died when she has not. Good morning, Internet…

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