Firefox Monitor, Voting, Facebook, More: Thursday Buzz, September 27, 2018


Mozilla Blog: Introducing Firefox Monitor, Helping People Take Control After a Data Breach. “Data breaches, when information like your username and password are stolen from a website you use, are an unfortunate part of life on the internet today. It can be hard to keep track of when your information has been stolen, so we’re going to help by launching Firefox Monitor, a free service that notifies people when they’ve been part of a data breach. After testing this summer, the results and positive attention gave us the confidence we needed to know this was a feature we wanted to give to all of our users.”

Neowin: Twitter, Snapchat, and Tinder begin encouraging users to sign up to vote . “With the U.S. midterms quickly approaching, tech firms have ramped up efforts to get more people participating in the elections. Twitter, Snapchat, and Tinder are now running their own unique campaigns on their respective platforms which aim to get U.S. users to register to vote in time for election day on Tuesday, November 6.”

Recode: Facebook’s recent ‘bear hug’ of Instagram frustrated its independent founders, leading to their exit. “Of all the CEOs to join Facebook via an acquisition — and there have been many — Instagram’s Kevin Systrom has always been considered the best fit with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Not only were they both great at building products, but they had developed a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Wired: Twitter Releases New Policy on ‘Dehumanizing Speech’. “Twitter on Tuesday announced a new policy addressing ‘dehumanizing speech,’ which will take effect later this year, and for the first time the public will be able to formally provide the company with feedback on the proposed rule.”


France 24: A social media network mobilizing blacks ahead of Brazil elections. “As Brazil’s general elections approach, a new social network is gaining traction aimed at giving greater visibility to black candidates while highlighting anti-racism initiatives in the country tainted by racial prejudice. Black & Black, which has 100,000 users — in a population of more than 200 million — aims to ‘connect the demands and narratives of the world’s black population’ and to ensure that ‘black people get the prominence they deserve.'”

Los Angeles Times: Getty Research Institute launches African American Art History initiative, acquires Betye Saar’s archive. “The program’s mandate includes acquiring archives; the appointment of a curator and bibliographer in African American Art History; annual research fellowships; a plan to conduct oral histories of notable African American artists, scholars, critics, collectors and art dealers; and institutional partnerships with the goal of digitizing existing archival collections and collaborating on joint conferences, publications and research projects.”

The Indian Express: From voice to video, why Indian languages are again Google’s big focus. “Internet in India has changed drastically over the last two years. The data wars that have ensued have made prices of mobile broadband plummet, allowing easier and affordable access for many. India’s internet population is around 450 million users, and over 390 million of these are active users. But, according to search giant Google, what’s driving online consumption is the growth of regional languages on the Internet and increasing video consumption.”


Fifth Domain: Why the market for zero-day vulnerabilities on the dark web is vanishing. “For years the secretive market for zero-day exploits — unpatched bugs in software or hardware — thrived in the dark corners of the internet. But vulnerability sales have been all but driven off the dark web, according to experts, and now operate in the open.”

Fortune: Dealers Are Using Social Media to Sell Illegal Drugs — And Getting Away With It. “The social platforms can’t keep up with their own algorithms, which actively promote the problematic content once users express interest by following a drug dealer or liking a drug-related image, according to the report. The system is meant to advertise accounts and provide new content personalized to the user’s interests, but this can backfire when the interests are illegal.”

Ars Technica: Researchers find Russian “VPNfilter” malware was a Swiss Army hacking knife. “Researchers at Cisco’s Talos have discovered that VPNfilter—the malware that prompted Federal Bureau of Investigation officials to urge people to reboot their Internet routers—carried an even bigger punch than had previously been discovered. While researchers already found that the malware had been built with multiple types of attack modules that could be deployed to infected routers, further research uncovered seven additional modules that could have been used to exploit the networks routers were attached to, thus stealing data and creating a covert network for command and control over future attacks.”


Science Museum Group Digital Lab: Scanning Stephenson’s Rocket. “Shortly before Stephenson’s Rocket left the Science Museum to visit the Discovery Museum in Newcastle (for the Great Exhibition of the North) and the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, we decided to carry out a very high resolution scan of this iconic locomotive. Working with ScanLAB — who previously scanned the Science Museum’s former Shipping Galleries — it was agreed that the best approach would be to produce a point cloud using LIDAR scanners and high-resolution photography. From this we could produce a high-resolution 3D (.obj) model of Rocket.” Good morning, Internet…

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