Heatwaves, Flickr, Twitter, More: Sunday Buzz, November 4, 2018


Nature Asia: A data toolbox for studying heatwaves. “A database that provides insights into current and past heatwaves – The Global Heatwave and Warm-spell Record (GHWR) – is published online this week in Scientific Data. The GHWR, which is available to researchers, will facilitate the study of heatwaves and their impact on humans and the environment.”


Flickr Blog: Why we’re changing Flickr free accounts. “Beginning January 8, 2019, Free accounts will be limited to 1,000 photos and videos. If you need unlimited storage, you’ll need to upgrade to Flickr Pro. In 2013, Yahoo lost sight of what makes Flickr truly special and responded to a changing landscape in online photo sharing by giving every Flickr user a staggering terabyte of free storage. This, and numerous related changes to the Flickr product during that time, had strongly negative consequences.”

BBC: US mid-terms: Twitter deletes anti-voting bots. “Twitter has deleted an estimated 10,000 automated accounts that were posting messages discouraging people from taking part in next week’s US mid-term elections. Most of the accounts were posing as Democrats, the social media company said. They were taken down in late September and early October.”

Neowin: Microsoft quietly launches mixed reality app called Outings for exploring landmarks . “In June, Microsoft confirmed that it had decided to abandon its plans for virtual and mixed reality on Xbox One despite confirming previously the arrival of MR experience support on the console this year. While that may seem a huge blow to the company’s MR efforts, it now seems that the software giant is still working on tools for MR in the form of a new app that’s now available to download from the Microsoft Store.”

The Register: Dot-com web addresses prices to swell, thanks to sweetheart deal between Uncle Sam, Verisign . “The planet’s 138 million dot-com addresses are going to get significantly more expensive to renew over the next decade thanks to a contract signed between dot-com operator Verisign and the US government. New dot-com domains are also set to cost more.”


The Economic Times: Google India tax row: $2 billion remittance in 5 years may add to tech giant’s load . “Google India has remitted over $2 billion from the revenue earned in the country over the past five financial years to the US-based search giant’s subsidiaries in Singapore and Ireland, an analysis of the company’s financial statements by ET shows.”

Wired: Will ‘Deepfakes’ Disrupt The Midterm Election? . “PLENTY OF PEOPLE are following the final days of the midterm election campaigns. Yale law researcher Rebecca Crootof has a special interest—a small wager. If she wins, victory will be bittersweet, like the Manhattan cocktail that will be her prize.”

Washington Post: How Facebook and Twitter are rushing to stop voter suppression online for the midterm elections. “Facebook and Twitter aren’t just trying to drive people to the polls — they’re racing to fight back bad actors who seek to deter their users from voting. With the 2018 midterms days away, both social media platforms are waging a quiet war against fast-spreading falsehoods about how, when and where to vote — including posts containing inaccuracies about how to mail in ballots or doctored photos that show long lines at polling stations. To do so, they are taking aggressive steps to scan, vet and remove content that they see as a direct threat to democracy.”


Bloomberg Quint: Vietnam Says Google and Facebook May Have Year to Meet Cyber Law. “Vietnam is proposing to allow international Internet companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. one year to comply with a controversial cyber law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 and requires them to open local offices and store data of Vietnamese users in the country.”

Ars Technica: Proposed data privacy law could send company execs to prison for 20 years. “A US senator has proposed a privacy law that could issue steep fines to companies and send their top executives to prison for up to 20 years if they violate Americans’ privacy. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. announced a discussion draft of his Consumer Data Protection Act yesterday. The bill would establish new privacy rules that major companies must follow and establish fines and prison sentences big enough to make even the largest companies take notice.”

TechCrunch: A pair of new Bluetooth security flaws expose wireless access points to attack. “The two bugs are found in Bluetooth Low Energy chips built by Texas Instruments, which networking device makers — like Aruba, Cisco and Meraki — use in their line-up of enterprise wireless access points. Although the two bugs are distinctly different and target a range of models, the vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to take over an access point and break into an enterprise network or jump over the virtual walls that separate networks.”

ZDNet: Two botnets are fighting over control of thousands of unsecured Android devices. “Two botnet gangs are fighting to take control over as many unsecured Android devices as they can to use their resources and mine cryptocurrency behind owners’ backs. The turf war between these two botnets –one named Fbot and the other named Trinity– has been going on for at least a month if we’re to combine the various clues from reports published by different cyber-security firms.” Good morning, Internet…

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