Mozilla Plugins, Leveson Inquiry, Google Products, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, April 9, 2019


NullSweep: Launching the Mozilla Plugin Privacy Test Database. “Today, I launched the Plugin Privacy Test Database for Mozilla plugins. The tests attempt to determine whether plugins passively gather data about users browsing habits. In this introductory blog post, I will outline the test methods used and some of the results limitations.”

Surrey Comet: Launch of project led by KU academics documenting video evidence and testimonies from media inquiry. “The event was held last week (April 2) to mark the launch of… a new online project created by a team of academics led by the Journalism Department at [Kingston University]. The Discover Leveson project is focused around a website that gives free and easy access to the public testimony and submissions to the Leveson Inquiry, the UK-based investigation into journalistic practices that was established in the wake of the phone hacking scandal in 2011-12.” If you don’t remember the Leveson Inquiry, the BBC has a FAQ of sorts. I mentioned this in December but it looks like this is the “official” launch.


The Next Web: Average life of a dead Google product is just four years. “…a new feature in the Google Cemetery site shows us the average life span of the company’s discontinued products: 4.1 years. While you may think that doesn’t sound half bad, you have to keep in mind that Google has killed over 150 products in the last 13 years.”

BetaNews: Mozilla is launching curated Recommended Extensions program this summer. “However much you love your chosen web browser, you have probably enhanced its capabilities through the use of add-ons. Finding decent, reliable add-ons can be tricky, and this is why Mozilla is launching the Recommended Extensions program.”

Ars Technica: Hands-on: First public previews of Chromium-based Edge are now out. “Microsoft’s switch to using the Chromium engine to power its Edge browser was announced in December last year, and the first public preview build is out now. Canary builds, updated daily, and Dev builds, updated weekly, are available for Windows 10. Versions for other operating systems and a beta that’s updated every six weeks are promised to be coming soon.”


Hongkiat: 20+ Useful Online Chart & Graph Generators. “Creating appealing and useful graphs require two things — good knowledge of statistics and a useful chart generator tool. While the former can be learned at school, for the later here are some of the best web services that allow you to create professional charts and graphs online. Let’s take a look at the list.”


The Verge: For Some Small Businesses, Instagram Has Replaced Word-of-Mouth. “Self-styled as DirtQueenNYC, [Jarema] Osofsky got her start selling plants on a Brooklyn street. But like many Instagram users finding new ways to use the platform — whether it’s creating safe havens through secret finsta accounts, garage sale-style selling, photo fan-fic, or repurposing memes — she’s past posting flashy photos to the main grid. DirtQueenNYC is something else: a modern take on word-of-mouth marketing. “People post a picture of a plant that they got from me and tag me,” she says. From there, her service spreads among their friends.”

New York Times: Wikipedia Isn’t Officially a Social Network. But the Harassment Can Get Ugly.. “In Wikipedia’s 18 years of existence, it has become a fixture in our lives: It ascends to the top of Google’s search results and provides answers to the questions we ask Alexa and Siri. For Wikipedia’s editing community, the website is even more. It is a kind of social network where users debate the minutiae of history and modern life, climb the editorial hierarchy and even meet friends and romantic partners. It is also a place where editors can experience relentless harassment.”


CNET: Library services get digital, testing privacy values. “Librarians stood up to the US government over requirements in the 2001 USA Patriot Act to share records with law enforcement. They designed policies that require that records of the books you’ve checked out are deleted as soon as you return them. And they’ve pushed every US state to adopt protections for patron records. E-books and audiobooks, now standard at libraries, make protecting privacy harder. Titles are usually provided through private companies, which can access your data. And today’s software can create more comprehensive records about you than a simple list of the books you checked out.”


eWeek: How AI Data Actually Moves from Collection to Algorithm. “Though excitement about AI and ML is legitimately growing, we hear little about how the data actually goes from collection to algorithm. By examining the process behind building hypothetical machine learning models, we can look at what important processes are often glossed over in articles extolling the virtues of AI.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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