DeepMind, Wizard of Oz, Google Calendar, More: Monday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, August 26, 2019


Bloomberg: Google DeepMind Co-Founder Placed on Leave From AI Lab. “The co-founder of DeepMind, the high-profile artificial intelligence lab owned by Google, has been placed on leave after controversy over some of the projects he led.”

Heavy: How to Find Google’s Secret ‘Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Slippers Surprise. “To celebrate the upcoming 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Google has embedded a secret surprise online for lovers of the iconic film, which was first released in theaters on August 25, 1939. The online search engine released their hidden ode to the beloved movie based on L. Frank Baum’s book series two days early, and if you know where to look, users online can be swept up in a tornado and taken to Oz just like the film’s heroine, Dorothy Gale.”


The Verge: How to keep spam from invading your Google Calendar. “There is a way to set up your calendar so that the spam doesn’t have a chance to get in at all and to get rid of any crossed-out appointments that you already have. It’s a three-part process.”


TechCrunch: Facebook really doesn’t want you to read these emails. “So what is Facebook trying to bury in the horse latitudes of summer? An internal email chain, starting September 2015, which shows a glimpse of what Facebook’s own staff knew about the activity of Cambridge Analytica prior to The Guardian’s December 2015 scoop — when the newspaper broke the story that the controversial (and now defunct) data analytics firm, then working for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, had harvested data on millions of Facebook users without their knowledge and/or consent, and was using psychological insights gleaned from the data to target voters.”

CNET: Amazon lists thousands of banned and unsafe items for sale, investigation says. “More than 4,000 items for sale on Amazon by third-party sellers have deceptive labeling or have been banned or declared unsafe by federal regulators, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal published Friday. Nearly half these items were listed as shipping from an Amazon warehouse, said the Journal, and some were promoted as ‘Amazon’s choice.'”


New York Times: I Visited 47 Sites. Hundreds of Trackers Followed Me.. “Earlier this year, an editor working on The Times’s Privacy Project asked me whether I’d be interested in having all my digital activity tracked, examined in meticulous detail and then published — you know, for journalism. ‘Hahaha,’ I said, and then I think I made an ‘at least buy me dinner first’ joke, but it turned out he was serious. What could I say? I’m new here, I like to help, and, conveniently, I have nothing whatsoever at all to hide.”

BetaNews: Web host Hostinger resets 14 million customer passwords following data breach. “Hosting company Hostinger has reset passwords for all of its customers after a data breach in which a database containing information about 14 million users was accessed ‘by an unauthorized third party’.”


Freedom to Tinker: Deconstructing Google’s excuses on tracking protection. “Blocking cookies is bad for privacy. That’s the new disingenuous argument from Google, trying to justify why Chrome is so far behind Safari and Firefox in offering privacy protections. As researchers who have spent over a decade studying web tracking and online advertising, we want to set the record straight.”

University of Washington: New tools to minimize risks in shared, augmented-reality environments. “For now, AR remains mostly a solo activity, but soon people might be using the technology for a variety of group activities, such as playing multi-user games or collaborating on work or creative projects. But how can developers guard against bad actors who try to hijack these experiences, and prevent privacy breaches in environments that span digital and physical space?”


Boing Boing: The “One HTML Page Challenge”, a great example of view-source culture. “Behold the “One HTML Page Challenge” — to build a one-page site using just the code in a single html file: ‘Practice your skills with no assistance from libraries, no separation of files, and no assistance of a modern framework.'” Giving me all the nostalgic feels. Good afternoon, Internet…

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