Earl Raab, Apple Maps, Social Media, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, May 28, 2019


Jewish News of Northern California: Columns by Earl Raab, Bay Area writer and Jewish community legend, now online. “Earl Raab was known for many things. He was a progressive before his time, a champion of a free press, an activist for Jewish causes. And the longtime San Francisco community leader was also a writer, notably as a columnist in this very publication. Now his writings are available once again, collected and organized by topic on a new website set up by the Jewish Community Relations Council, where Raab was executive director from 1951 to 1987.”


Neowin: Apple Maps announces plans to start surveying Canada for image and data collection. “In a statement released today, Apple announced plans to start surveying Canada this month in order to improve Apple Maps. Apart from being posted online, the statement also appeared in several Canadian newspapers. The Cupertino-based giant will begin conducting ground surveys in Canada in the near future. A team from Apple Maps will be driving around select regions in Canada throughout the summer, gathering information and images.”


Lifehacker: How To Outsmart Algorithms And Take Control Of Your Information Diet. This is like a roundup of other useful Lifehacker articles, but it’s still good. “‘Certain algorithms,’ says Tim Cook, ‘pull you toward the things you already know, believe or like, and they push away everything else. Push back.’ In a commencement speech to Tulane University, the Apple CEO tells graduates to take charge of their information diet. And much as we want to sneer at the irony of a phone maker telling us to beware of algorithms, we have to admit that Apple’s Screen Time app is one good tool for improving your tech habits. Here are the best posts we’ve already written on pushing back against the algorithms.”

Engadget: A parent’s guide to raising a good digital citizen. “Being a good digital citizen means being a responsible one: educating yourself and your kids about the digital world, participating in it in positive ways, questioning it and using technology as a tool to make the world a bit brighter (and not in some post-apocalyptic-neon-shroom-cloud way). How do kids learn digital citizenship? The same way they learn how to be good citizens: They watch good role models, and they practice. As a mom, I try to be one of those role models and give them opportunities to practice, with, admittedly, a pretty tight leash.”

How-To Geek: How to Stop All the Voice Assistants from Storing Your Voice. “Voice assistants, like Google Assistant and Alexa, record what you say after the wake word to send off to company servers. The companies keep your recordings until you delete them. Some companies let you turn that behavior off: here’s how.”


The National: Scrubbing up on social media: is the rise of ‘cleanfluencers’ healthy or harmful?. “Social media crazes come and go: 2014 gave us the no-make-up selfie, while 2016 was all about the mannequin challenge. This year’s latest Instagram trend, however, is far removed from the hilarity of filters or the nostalgia of the #tenyearchallenge. In fact, it borders on the mundane, seeing as it involves housecleaning.”

Mashable: Facebook used as a platform to promote dog fighting, report finds . “The report, published by animal rights organisation Lady Freethinker, highlights how dog fighting content is easily found on the platform, and how the company has failed to enforce its own policies against the practice. Between Oct. 2018 and Feb. 2019, the organisation found 2,000 posts which promoted dogfighting or trafficking animals used for fighting, more than 150 pages, groups and profiles actively involved in the practice, plus 160,563 members in the top five pages and groups.”

CNET: The internet is changing Africa, and the results are complicated. “Widespread internet access is changing the African continent, largely thanks to the rise in smartphone ownership. Many Africans who are unable to afford costly broadband connections can now access the web for the first time, via sub-$50 Android phones. The rate of adoption continues to surge: A GSMA study predicts Africa will get 300 million new internet users by 2025.”


Fortune: How Your Privacy Will Be Protected in the 2020 Census. “If people believe their responses will not be kept private and secured, they may opt not to respond. And with the proposed addition of a sensitive question to the 2020 Census—asking whether a respondent is an American citizen—heeding the privacy mandate becomes paramount. There’s a problem though: the usual methods for preserving people’s privacy no longer afford sufficient protection.”

ZDNet: Australian tech unicorn Canva suffers security breach. “Canva, a Sydney-based startup that’s behind the eponymous graphic design service, was hacked earlier today, ZDNet has learned. Data for roughly 139 million users has been taken during the breach, according to the hacker, who tipped off ZDNet.”


The Sunday Times Sri Lanka: Terrorism 3.0: The rise of social media-based radicalisation. “Sri Lanka has valuable experience in dealing with traditional terrorism, however Terrorism 3.0 demands long-term goals to be developed and integrated, with enhanced social media sentiment analysis with protocols on how to spot and manage radicalisation in both the online and offline worlds. The fight should be fought on the ideological front, led by moderate leaders, and online sentiments should also be countered with offline actions and discussions.”

Ars Technica: Deepfakes are getting better—but they’re still easy to spot. “There are big challenges to wielding this new technique maliciously against you and me. The system relies on fewer images of the target face, but requires training a big model from scratch, which is expensive and time consuming, and will likely only become more so. They also take expertise to wield. It’s unclear why you would want to generate a video from scratch, rather than turning to, say, established techniques in film editing or PhotoShop.”


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