Venezuela Aircraft, Apple App Privacy, École Polytechnique, More: Friday ResearchBuzz, March 12, 2021


Thanks to Tish W. for the heads-up! BellingCat: Launching an Open Source Aircraft Database for Venezuela . “In January 2020, I started an open database of aircraft registered in Venezuela. Using open source flight tracking data and helpful tips from aircraft tracking enthusiasts, the database now includes details on approximately 240 aircraft. The vast majority of these aircraft are registered in Venezuela, but some are foreign-registered with some connection to the country (more on that later).”

CNET: Apple’s new privacy-label database lets you see what data its apps gather on you. “Apps are everywhere, and pretty much all of them gather data about us whenever we use them. In light of that, Apple in December began requiring app developers to list information about the data their apps gather, in an accessible privacy label. Now the company is taking things one step further, with an easily searchable database of privacy labels for Apple’s own apps.”

Institut Polytechnique de Paris: Unprecedented historical collections on Google Arts & Culture. “École Polytechnique and Google Arts & Culture are teaming up to make available to the general public for the first time a unique collection of nearly 2,000 pieces from scientific, historical, and artistic collections from l’X, retracing more than 226 years of existence.”


The Verge: Microsoft is ending support for the old non-Chromium Edge. “Support for Microsoft’s Edge browser is ending today — not the new Chromium-based one, but the original Edge that was built as a replacement for Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft now calls it Legacy Edge, and the company announced it would be discontinuing the product back in August. That day has finally come: Legacy Edge will no longer receive security updates, and anyone still using it should start the process of switching to something else.”


Livemint: News channels body asks Google to compensate for content. “After the Indian Newspaper Society, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has written to Internet giant Google on revenue sharing with intermediary technology platforms while seeking a meeting to discuss the ‘urgent need to create an equitable relationship and level the playing field between global tech monopolies and traditional media/news organisations.'”

CNN: Pakistan bans TikTok again. “The popular short-form video app is no longer available on mobile devices in the country after regulators issued an order late Thursday to ‘immediately’ block access to it. Pakistan’s Telecommunications Authority said it banned TikTok after a provincial court in Peshawar called for the platform to be removed.”

New York Times: Russia Says It Is Slowing Access to Twitter . “The Russian government said on Wednesday that it was slowing access to Twitter, accusing the social network of failing to remove illegal content and signaling that the Kremlin is escalating its offensive against American internet companies that have long provided a haven for freedom of expression.”


TechCrunch: Lawmakers want to empower publishers to collectively negotiate with Facebook. “On the heels of a heated standoff between platforms and publishers in Australia, U.S. lawmakers reintroduced a piece of legislation that would allow the news industry to collectively negotiate content deals with tech companies.”

SecurityWeek: Flaws in Apple Location Tracking System Could Lead to User Identification. “Vulnerabilities identified in offline finding (OF) — Apple’s proprietary crowd-sourced location tracking system — could be abused for user identification, researchers said in a report released this month. Introduced in 2019, the system relies on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology for the detection of ‘lost’ devices, and on the Internet connection of so-called ‘finder’ devices to report on their location back to the owner.”


University of Pennsylvania: Twitter Bots May Not Be as Influential as You Think. “A new study from Annenberg School Associate Professor Sandra González-Bailón found that verified media accounts are more central in the spread of information on Twitter than bots — even though they amount to a much smaller fraction of all accounts active.”

EurekAlert: Experts recreate a mechanical Cosmos for the world’s first computer. “Researchers at UCL have solved a major piece of the puzzle that makes up the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a hand-powered mechanical device that was used to predict astronomical events.”

University at Buffalo: How to spot deepfakes? Look at light reflection in the eyes. “University at Buffalo computer scientists have developed a tool that automatically identifies deepfake photos by analyzing light reflections in the eyes. The tool proved 94% effective with portrait-like photos in experiments described in a paper accepted at the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing to be held in June in Toronto, Canada.” Good morning, Internet…

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