Detroit Murals, Delaware Ponds, Snapchat, More: Wednesday Buzz, April 18, 2018


Curbed Detroit: Detroiter creates resource to document murals across the city. “Driving around Detroit, it’s hard not to notice mural after mural gracing the sides of buildings. There are so many, it can be hard to know where to turn to find out who painted them and how to find more information. One Detroiter, Viranel Clerard, is determined to document all of the murals in Detroit. His website, the Detroit Mural Project, currently has 500, and he has another 500 already photographed and queued to go up on the site.”

State of Delaware: DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announces new online interactive pond maps for Delaware anglers. “DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife today announced the release of newly-interactive online maps that allow anglers and other users to easily locate Delaware’s public freshwater ponds throughout the state. The public ponds, most of which are managed by the Division of Fish & Wildlife, range from five to 189 acres in size and support a variety of gamefish. The application can be used on mobile devices and can be found on the DNREC alpha website’s Public Pond Page.”


The Next Web: Snapchat taps community creativity with user-built face Lenses. “A few months after Snapchat opened its Lens Studio, allowing anyone to make their own versions of the app’s augmented reality filters — the company today announced it’s now allowing its users to make their own face Lenses, a.k.a. the ones Snapchat is famous for.”

Reuters: Facebook to trial ads tool in Ireland ahead of abortion referendum. “Ireland will become the second country to trial a new tool that Facebook hopes will ensure greater transparency in political advertising, when it holds a referendum on abortion next month, the company’s vice president for global policy said on Tuesday.”

CNET: France builds WhatsApp-like service to avoid privacy breaches. “As Facebook continues to reel from the Cambridge Analytica saga, the French government is taking precautions against the social media behemoth’s WhatsApp service. The French government is developing its own encrypted messaging service, Reuters reported Monday. The goal is to alleviate concerns about privacy breaches, which could result in the leaking of private conversations between top officials to foreign parties.”


BuzzFeed: How To Spot A Deepfake Like The Barack Obama–Jordan Peele Video. “Don’t be embarrassed if you were fooled, even if only briefly. Technology to trick our eyes and ears is advancing rapidly. Teams in Germany are working on Face2Face, the type of face- and voice-swapping technology used to create the video above. Software giant Adobe is creating a “Photoshop for audio” that makes it easy to edit and manipulate what someone has said, as is a Montreal startup called Lyrebird. After you’ve selectively edited someone’s words, you could take that audio and use tech developed at the University of Washington to generate a video of the very same person speaking those words, just to make it fully convincing.”

New York Times: A Beginner’s Guide to Taking Great Video on Your Phone. “Not long ago, a filmmaker wouldn’t dream of shooting a movie on a phone because the quality was so inferior to what you could capture on pricier devices. But that’s changing. Consider this: The most recent project from the renowned American film director Steven Soderbergh, ‘Unsane,’ was shot entirely on an iPhone. Today, there are lots of reasons everyone from pro photographers to amateur shutterbugs are using phones to shoot video projects.”


The Verge: OLPC’s $100 Laptop Was Going To Change The World — Then It All Went Wrong. “In late 2005, tech visionary and MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte pulled the cloth cover off a small green computer with a bright yellow crank. The device was the first working prototype for Negroponte’s new nonprofit One Laptop Per Child, dubbed ‘the green machine’ or simply ‘the $100 laptop.’ And it was like nothing that Negroponte’s audience — at either his panel at a UN-sponsored tech summit in Tunis, or around the globe — had ever seen.” Remember these? This is a deep dive into what happened.


Krebs on Security: Deleted Facebook Cybercrime Groups Had 300,000 Members. “Hours after being alerted by KrebsOnSecurity, Facebook last week deleted almost 120 private discussion groups totaling more than 300,000 members who flagrantly promoted a host of illicit activities on the social media network’s platform. The scam groups facilitated a broad spectrum of shady activities, including spamming, wire fraud, account takeovers, phony tax refunds, 419 scams, denial-of-service attack-for-hire services and botnet creation tools. The average age of these groups on Facebook’s platform was two years.”

Boing Boing: Nova Scotia filled its public Freedom of Information Archive with citizens’ private data, then arrested the teen who discovered it. “A 19 year old in Nova Scotia wanted to learn more about the provincial teachers’ dispute, so he filed some Freedom of Information requests; he wasn’t satisfied with the response so he decided to dig through other documents the province had released under open records laws to look for more, but couldn’t find a search tool that was adequate to the job. He noticed that the URL for the response to his request ended with a long number, and by changing that number (by adding or subtracting from it), he could access other public documents published by the government in response to public requests.”


TechCrunch: Want to fool a computer vision system? Just tweak some colors . “Research into machine learning and the interesting AI models created as a consequence are popular topics these days. But there’s a sort of shadow world of scientists working to undermine these systems — not to show they’re worthless but to shore up their weaknesses. A new paper demonstrates this by showing how vulnerable image recognition models are to the simplest color manipulations of the pictures they’re meant to identify.”

The Daily Beast: Facebook Can’t Be Fixed, It Needs To Be Broken Up. “Facebook is a corporate monopoly whose very business model is surveillance and user manipulation. It is a threat to our democracy and nothing short of breaking it up can protect our data and ensure that Facebook serves its users, instead of the other way around. Members of Congress and antitrust law enforcers need to investigate and address Facebook’s monopoly power.” Good morning, Internet…

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