Facebook, Brett Kavanaugh, YouTube, More: Tuesday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, May 21, 2019

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TechCrunch: Facebook releases a trio of maps to aid with fighting disease outbreaks. “Facebook this morning announced a new initiative focused on using its data and technologies to help nonprofit organizations and universities working in public health better map the spread of infectious diseases around the world. Specifically, the company is introducing three new maps: population density maps with demographic estimates, movement maps, and network coverage maps. These, says Facebook, will help the health partners to understand where people live, how they’re moving, and if they have connectivity — all factors that can aid in determining how to respond to outbreaks, and where supplies should be delivered.”

EPIC: National Archives Releases New Kavanaugh Records. “In response to EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the National Archives has released hundreds of new emails from Justice Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. The emails concern the controversial surveillance programs Total Information Awareness, Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II), and Secure Flight.”


FiveThirtyEight: Where The Algorithms Can’t Find You. “Default Filename feels quietly radical in 2019. The project imagines a YouTube without recommendation algorithms that think you only want to watch beauty tutorials, Avengers outtakes or product unboxings. It’s a glimpse of a timeline where Google and Facebook didn’t create and capitalize on a vast economy of tracking, prediction and control. Default Filename is a portal to an expansive, serendipitous internet — an internet that’s ours again.”

Business Insider: 9 incredibly useful Google Maps features everyone should know about. “Google Maps has become so pervasive and useful since its launch in 2005 that it’s almost impossible to remember how we got around without it. From seeing how long it takes to get from point A to point B, to scouting out restaurants and points of interest, it’s an invaluable resource for navigating neighbourhoods both familiar and new.”


Wired: HobbyKidsTV, YouTube, and the New World of Child Stars . “HobbyBear is expecting a package any day now. In it will be a Silver Play Button, a plaque that YouTube gives to creators who have surpassed 100,000 subscribers. HobbyBear has a little under 99,000 now, so he hasn’t quite earned the commendation. But give him a break: He’s only 6.”

The Conversation: Your internet data is rotting. “Acid-free paper can last 500 years; stone inscriptions even longer. But magnetic media like hard drives have a much shorter life, lasting only three to five years. They also need to be copied and verified on a very short life cycle to avoid data degradation at observed failure rates between 3% and 8% annually. Then there is also a problem of software preservation: How can people today or in the future interpret those WordPerfect or WordStar files from the 1980s, when the original software companies have stopped supporting them or gone out of business?”


Engadget: Unsecured database exposed millions of Instagram influencers. “A database containing contact information for millions of Instagram influencers was reportedly found online, exposing info like phone numbers and email addresses for celebrities, influencers and brand accounts. According to TechCrunch, the database was hosted on Amazon Web Services and left without a password. It contained as many as 49 million records.”

Techdirt: Another Federal Magistrate Says Compelled Production Of Passwords/Biometrics Violates The Fifth Amendment. “In another judicial rarity, a magistrate judge has rejected a warrant request by the federal government to compel a criminal suspect to unlock a phone found during the search of his residence. It won’t set precedent but it does present some arguments suspects will find useful when faced with orders for compelled production of passcodes or passwords.”

Fast Company: Some Facebook users can’t turn off face recognition, study suggests. “A small, qualitative, Consumer Reports study suggests that many Facebook users may lack the ability to prevent the social networking company from using facial recognition technology to identify their faces on the platform.”


BBC: Warning over using augmented reality in precision tasks. “People who use augmented reality headsets to complete complex tasks fare worse than those with no high-tech help, a small study suggests. In addition, those fitted with headsets over-estimate how well they perform.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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