Charlottesville, Transatlantic Slave Trade, Private Web Search, More: Thursday Buzz, August 31, 2017


Bellingcat: Database of August 12 Charlottesville Videos. “In this database, we have focused on user-generated videos, including those from livestreamers (such as Faith J. Goldy), participants, activists, and semi-amateur news distributors (such as Unicorn Riot), and have avoided the video materials published from large news organizations, such as the BBC, RT, Voice of America, and so on. The primary reason for this is because news footage from professional news organizations is unlikely to be lost, while user-generated content can easily be deleted and disappear from the internet forever. Additionally, we have saved metadata from the videos in case they are deleted, including the title and video description. Nearly all of the videos in this database have been saved by the Bellingcat staff, and we will eventually provide a third-party link to a backup copy of each video on a file sharing service, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.”

Antislavery Usable Past Project: Remembering 1807, Archiving 2007 . “At the Wilberforce Institute we are in the final stages of collecting materials for ‘Remembering 1807’, a digital archive of materials from UK projects which in 2007 commemorated the bicentenary of the abolition of the British transatlantic slave trade. The archive will go live this September, and will be one of the major resources in the Antislavery Usable Past’s online portal, providing primary source materials to be used in future antislavery scholarship, teaching and learning.” The launch party for the new archive is September 20.

The Register: Privacy-focused search engine DeepSearch slinks out of hiding. “Developers are working on a privacy-focused search engine that goes beyond the likes of DuckDuckGo. DeepSearch from TSignal is an AI-based search engine that does not collect any user information, according to the team behind the project. The crawler-based engine aims to maintain user privacy while offering unbiased information discovery.”


The Verge: YouTube Has A New Look And, For The First Time, A New Logo. “The YouTube logo is being refreshed, shifting the emphasis away from the word ‘Tube’ and onto the familiar play button which has already become an iconic shorthand for the company. The service is also getting a new typeface, color scheme, and a bunch of major changes to the look, feel, and functionality of its desktop and mobile app.” The update reminds me of the update to Google News. This is not a compliment.

eWeek: Google Releases SDK to Let Developers Add AR Features to Android Apps. “Google has released a preview version of a new software development kit that will let developers add augmented reality capabilities to existing and upcoming Android applications.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD Posts, tweets spread widely as the Harvey missing are sought. “Photos with pleas for help in finding the missing from Hurricane Harvey are being posted, cut-and-pasted and retweeted by thousands of people as desperate family members seek loved ones who they fear might be dead, but may only have a dead phone. No official number of the unaccounted-for had been released Tuesday night amid the vast uncertainty of the storm’s fourth day, with authorities saying the 18 deaths confirmed so far could surge in the days to come.”

The Atlantic: Using Twitter to Save a Newborn From a Flood. “Social media provided stranded people with a digital megaphone that could be carried far beyond Harvey’s path. Many other users joined the digital search-and-rescue operation and retweeted the voices of the stranded, hoping to buoy their pleas in fast-moving feeds. People offered words of comfort and replied with numbers or Twitter handles for local and national emergency services. Friends and family tweeted on their loved one’s behalf. “Anyone in NE #Houston able to rescue my Aunt? Just had surgery & home filling up w/ water,” a man pleaded. Conversations between flooding victims and concerned Twitter users, some nowhere near Houston, unfolded in real-time as the victims shared updates about water rising around them.”

Bloomberg Quint: Please Don’t Use Google Translate Against Russian Trolls. “modern translation engines use statistical analysis, parsing parallel text in different languages to figure out how a word, a turn of phrase or a sentence is most frequently translated. Coupled with artificial intelligence — neural translation, Google calls it — the results are even more impressive because the algorithm looks at whole sentences rather than smaller bits and pieces. Google Translate now uses this approach in multiple languages. As a result of the steady improvement, it’s producing far fewer of those hilarious ‘Google Translate Fails.’ But since it relies on previous translations, the statistical method is vulnerable to abuse — especially since Google allows users to suggest alternate translations.” This is a big deal because, as you might remember from an earlier ResearchBuzz, Google Translate was recently used in a British court.

BBC: Man banned from Twitter over mosquito death threat . “A Twitter user in Japan has been banned from using the social networking site for making a death threat against a mosquito.” Not The Onion!

Motley Fool: Snap Inc. Isn’t the Next Twitter — It’s Much Worse. “Shares of Snap are already down 46% from their peak just a few months ago. User growth is slowing, costs are exploding, and the company doesn’t seem to be able to combat Facebook’s relentless copying of Snapchat’s core features. Snap looks a lot like Twitter, in other words, and not a whole lot like Facebook. But I don’t think Snap is the next Twitter. It’s much worse.”


ZDNet: 711 million email addresses ensnared in ‘largest’ spambot. “A huge spambot ensnaring 711 million email accounts has been uncovered. A Paris-based security researcher, who goes by the pseudonymous handle Benkow, discovered an open and accessible web server hosted in the Netherlands, which stores dozens of text files containing a huge batch of email addresses, passwords, and email servers used to send spam.”

CBR Online: Cyber-attacks made easy as nearly half of companies fail payment security. “Almost half of companies around the world failed to comply with payment security regulations, risking their future ability to take card payments. According to Verizon’s Payment Security Report, 45% of all companies assessed didn’t comply with the payment card industry rules, failing to scan their systems for vulnerabilities often enough and sometimes even not encrypting data.” In case you’re wondering why you have to keep replacing your credit card. Good morning, Internet…

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