Biometrics Data, Tech Industry Activism, New Jersey DOT, More: Tuesday ResearchBuzz, December 24, 2019


FindBiometrics: NIST Launches Three New Biometric Databases to Aid Identity Verification Research. “The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the release of three new biometric databases aimed at helping accelerate the development of more secure and accurate biometric identification systems. The databases — knows as SD 300, SD 301, and SD 302 — contain different types of biometric data collected at different times including fingerprints, facial photographs and iris scans.”

The Guardian: What we learned from over a decade of tech activism. ” Googlers grappled with unionization, fought against increasing corporate hostility, and challenged their company’s unethical partnerships. Even Chinese tech workers have joined in, with the viral campaign that demanded more reasonable working hours. We documented all the collective actions in the tech industry in a publicly accessible online database and analyzed the results. What we learned challenges many mainstream media narratives about the tech workers’ movement. Here are our eight most important insights.”


New Jersey Department of Transportation: NJDOT Announces Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant features for 511NJ Traveler Information Program . (This link is to a PDF file.) “- New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti today announced that NJDOT is the first department in the country to provide hands-free, real-time, statewide, traffic and traveler information using both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices.”


Lifehacker: How to Get Your Instagram ‘Top 9’ This Year. “It’s that time of year where everyone starts posting their ‘top’ lists for the year. While most sites will provide that information to you directly in a form you can share with the masses, Instagram doesn’t offer a ‘Top’ list directly. If you want your Instagram list, you’ll need to go to a third-party site.”

Poynter: A year-end list of year-end lists: version 2k19. “Good news, folks. It appears news outlets are still eagerly curating ‘best of’ year-end lists. And luckily for you (I guess?) I’m still aggregating them all. Last year, I solicited input from my colleagues on what they thought were the best shows, movies and other facets of pop culture. But in 2019, I really leaned into the self-important misanthrope thing and am instead offering just my own scalding takes.” It’s ridiculous how extensive this is.


Lexington Herald-Leader: Collaboration key to assembling Native American photo trove. “Of the roughly 1,000 images of Native Americans from the 19th through the early 20th century, Eric Hemenway kept returning to one: a lone woman hoeing potatoes in a Michigan garden. The director of archives and records for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians was poring over boxes of photos in the Clements Library of University of Michigan, which acquired the rare trove from a collector. Others might be drawn to Sitting Bull staring into the camera lens, or Geronimo posing with this elite band before capture. But for Hemenway, the picture of Viola Assinaway, an ancestor through marriage, is commonplace yet compelling: It offers visual proof of his people’s continuous presence.”

CNN: Google CEO Sundar Pichai gets a big pay raise as CEO of Alphabet. “In his new role, he’ll be given a salary of $2 million, up from $650,000 in 2018. He’ll also be given two tranches of performance-based stock units worth $45 million and an additional $120 million in restricted stock units, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.”


New York Times: No ‘Magic Bullets’ in the Fight Against Online Abuse, but ‘Spiders’ Help. “Sexual predators have grown increasingly adept at using the internet to share and view child sexual abuse photos and videos. Some have computer-programming skills and have deployed sophisticated defenses against efforts to take them down. But the predators don’t have free rein on the internet, thanks to nearly four dozen child protection hotlines around the world, which act as a first line of defense against the explosion of imagery.”

Trustwave: Anyone Can Check for Magecart with Just the Browser. “In the past, there have been plenty of articles and blog posts recommending the use of Content Security Policy (CSP) and Sub Resource Integrity (SRI) to prevent the insidious skimming malware from taking hold of a website. However, what can a small business owner do if resources are limited and implementing these countermeasures is just not feasible? What can a normal everyday user do to check and see if their favorite shopping site is compromised? In this blog post, I will go over a few steps that don’t require any security training to perform.”

ProPublica: Like Voldemort, Ransomware Is Too Scary to Be Named. “Each year, millions of ransomware attacks paralyze computer systems of businesses, medical offices, government agencies and individuals. But they pose a particular dilemma for publicly traded companies, which are regulated by the SEC…. Material events must be reported in public filings, and failure to do so could spur SEC action or a shareholder lawsuit. Yet some companies worry that acknowledging a ransomware attack could land them on the front page, alarm investors and drive down their share price. As a result, although many companies cite ransomware in filings as a risk, they often don’t report attacks or describe them in vague terms, according to experts in securities law and cybersecurity.”


The Next Web: All I want for Christmas: A custom username for each subreddit. “The holidays are upon us, ushering in the time of year we bug our friends and family for presents — but why not bug tech companies as well If you’ve ever used Reddit, you should join me and demand custom usernames for Christmas. But why, you ask? The answer is simple: shame, creativity, and the multiplicity of man.”

Florida International University: Educational apps can benefit young children, study finds. “The researchers reviewed 35 studies from all over the world that included nearly 5,000 children under the age of six playing with interactive apps, and measured their academic, cognitive, or social-emotional skill outcomes. The review found the strongest evidence for a learning benefit for apps targeting early math skills, followed by early language and literacy skills, which includes letter knowledge, phonological awareness, letter writing and vocabulary.” Good morning, Internet…

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