Nebraska Death Records, Spotify, Snopes, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, December 28, 2019


Reclaim the Records: Reclaim The Records Wins The Nebraska Death Index (1904-1968) . “Earlier this year, one of our board members was noodling around with some Nebraska genealogical research, and he was surprised to realize that there was no source to search for Nebraska deaths. Statewide vital records registration began in Nebraska in late 1904, so their Department of Health certainly had records going back to the early 20th century, but there was no way to search through the index of what they had.”


CNET: Spotify hits pause on US political ads for next year. “Spotify will suspend political advertising early next year in the US. Spotify is the world’s leading streaming music service by subscribers, but its biggest audience is people who listen to ads so they can hear music free — 141 million of them worldwide each month.”

The Verge: Snopes is raising funds ahead of 2020 avalanche of misinformation. “Fact-checking operation Snopes has launched a crowdfunding campaign ahead of 2020, likely to be a bumper year for online misinformation due to the US presidential election.”


Make Tech Easier: How to Monitor Your Email Address and Passwords for Leaks in Data Breaches. “Have any of your email addresses been compromised? If you can’t answer that question for sure, you may want to check out one or more of these sites for the answer. Each site has a different method of checking your email, some of them offering more information than others or giving you help in keeping on top of the breaches.” Nice roundup/overview.

Gizmodo: Google’s New Recorder App Has An Unofficial Workaround, No Pixel Required. “When Google announced the Pixel 4, one of the things we were most excited for was the new Google Recorder app. It could transcribe your recordings live and offline! Around the world, journalists, students, and anyone who might need meeting transcripts raised their eyes heavenward and whispered a quiet ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ The only hitch? The new app was exclusive to Pixel phones, starting with the Pixel 2. But now, there’s an unofficial workaround that should benefit most Android users.”


The Economic Times: Google faces backlash for removing cryptocurrency videos from YouTube. “US-based technology behemoth Google has faced backlash from the cryptocurrency trading community for removing — and later reinstating — hundreds of cryptocurrency videos from its video-sharing platform YouTube in the last three days, and for suspending a cryptocurrency wallet application from its Android marketplace, Google Play, last week.”

Telangana Today: Hyderabad’s tipplers rely on Google maps to hoodwink cops. “In a bid to evade cops armed with breath analyzers carrying out drunken driving checks, the tipplers have started searching traffic jams in the search box on Google Maps in the night.”


Officer: Vermont City Plagued by Social Media Scandal Appoints 3 Police Chiefs in a Week . I don’t usually post random municipal stuff like this but this is wild. “The state’s largest city, whose police department keeps getting mired in social media scandals, is appointing its third chief in a week as two have been forced to resign when underground Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts surfaced.”

Reuters: French court clears social media tracking plan in tax crackdown. “France’s government can pursue plans to trawl social media to detect tax avoidance, its Constitutional Court ruled on Friday, although it introduced limitations on what information can be collected following a privacy outcry.” French government officials have already used Google Maps to catch swimming pool tax cheaters. Why is anybody surprised?

Wired: The Worst Hacks of the Decade. “It’s been apparent for decades that an increasingly computerized world would inevitably invite constant digital threats. But the actual evolution of hacking—with all its scams, criminal black markets, and state sponsored forces—has been characteristically human, not a sterile, dispassionate artifact of an unknown future. Here in chronological order are the data breaches and digital attacks that helped shape the decade. Take an anxiety-inducing stroll down memory lane—and stay safe out there.”


Slate on the biggest problem of trying to move to a social network besides Facebook: All Alone on Cocoon and WT Social. “There have always been new social media sites hoping to take Facebook’s place the way it took Myspace’s. Diaspora, launched in 2010, is a nonprofit promising users ownership of the site. Ello, created in 2014, vowed to stay ad-free. Mastodon, which is more similar to Twitter, is an open-source and decentralized platform that has been steadily growing since it came onto the scene in 2016. I have accounts on all three, so when Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales took to Twitter to announce his new social media network WT Social in November of this year, I figured I’d join that too.”

The Next Web: 2020 will mark the death of the chatbot as we know it. “According to recent research, only 9 percent of customers felt that they would be best served by a chatbot for serious enquiries, whereas the figures for a voice call were in excess of 80 percent. But with 80 percent of contact centers wanting to adopt chatbot technology by 2020, what is does this industry know that we don’t? Well, they are seeing the bright and not-so-distant future of this technology, and it doesn’t look like a thing like your average chatbot.” Good morning, Internet…

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