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Joined 10M ago
Cake day: May 17, 2022

New tools built by researchers at AI startup Hugging Face and Leipzig University and detailed in a non-peer-reviewed paper allow people to examine biases in three popular AI image-generating models: DALL-E 2 and the two recent versions of Stable Diffusion. Here is the paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/2303.11408

The Kremlin claims that Rosselkhozbank, Russia’s fifth-biggest lender, only funds farmers and the food industry. But an investigation has found that amid the Russian pressure, Rosselkhozbank quietly arranged to lend up to $350 million to a little-known Hong Kong trading house that ships oil from Rosneft, the Russian state oil company.

Albert Ho was granted bail in August 2022, with media reporting he needed medical treatment for lung cancer. The judge who granted bail told Ho that if his bail will be revoked "he won’t be able to receive any kind of private medical care”.

The decision is relevant for almost all EU websites. However, when websites include this technology they also forward all user data to the US multinational and onwards to the NSA. While the European Commission is still aiming to publish the third EU-US data transfer deal, the fact that US law still allows bulk surveillance means that this matter will not be solved any time soon, an NGO says.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the guidance is an author’s “duty to disclose the inclusion of AI-generated content in a work submitted for registration," the US Copyright Office says. Also, authors must be human to register works. However, an author who arranges generative AI into a specific sequence—like designing the layout for a comic book—can potentially copyright that sequence of images, if the arrangement is “sufficiently creative."

The two men are accused to possess books which “provoke hatred or contempt” for the central government, the Hong Kong SAR government and Hong Kong’s judiciary. Meanwhile, the UN called upon the authorities to repeal the sedition laws and refrain from using them to suppress the expression of critical and dissenting opinions.

I just read an article on how cybercriminals use ChatGPT that is perfect for this thread (-:

Researchers should not use race as a proxy for describing human genetic variation, report says
Race is a social concept, but it is often used in genomics and genetics research as a surrogate for describing human genetic differences. "This is misleading, inaccurate, and harmful", the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the US say as they propose a new framework for scientists.

The laptop's 1.5 GHz quad-core Cortex A53-based CPU offers roughly the performance of a Raspberry Pi 3 or a mid-2010s budget smartphone—just barely enough to get by for basic browsing and document editing, fine for command-line work, and difficult to live with for just about anything else.

Overall, 1,483 unique allegations were reported against 1,539 police officers – or 0.7% of the workforce. There were 1,177 cases of alleged police-perpetrated violence, including sexual harassment and assault, reported between October 2021 and April 2022, according to data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

Yes, it’s bad if people are that naive, and it’s even worse when others appear to exploit the despair of people. The app has 32 permissions and contains 4 trackers that openly say that they would collect behavioral data and advertise their trackers using slogans like “we help marketers make better decisions”.

The government is right to prohibit the use of Tiktok on work devices, but experts think that the ban should also apply to other apps. "I don't think it's as simple as TikTok - bad; American companies - good. I think they're all bad," Australian National University cybersecurity researcher Vanessa Teague says.

dont think its controversial to think that governement officials shouldnt have any form of social media on their government issued phones. Its insane that governements have worse digital practices than a lot of mid size businesses

Yes. And what makes this thread even more weird is the fact that Tiktok is not even available in China. ByteDance offers a similar service, Douyin, that looks and works just like it, but the Western version is unavailable, and not just for government officials but the entire population.

Furthermore, a lot of other social media is blocked in China not just for officials but for the entire population, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and many others. Not that I think these apps are needed, I just don’t understand the critics for blocking Tiktok here.

TikTok execs had doubled down on efforts to convince UK policy advisers that their data is safe, but the UK will join the EU, US, Canada and other countries in banning TikTok. The move comes after a UK security review.

Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kenya are among the latest targets for English private schools aiming to expand overseas, often in partnership with property developers looking to build luxury developments or even entire cities.

Exposed data include patient names, birth dates, insurance information, and people's responses to mental health self-evaluations.

Calling the FBI’s past abuses of Section 702 “egregious,” Darin LaHood—who is leading the House Intelligence Committee's working group pushing to reauthorize Section 702 amid a steeply divided Congress—said that “ironically,” being targeted by the FBI gives him a “unique perspective” on “what’s wrong with the FBI.”

Software development tool GitHub will require more accounts to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) starting on March 13. That mandate will extend to all developers who contribute code on GitHub.com by the end of 2023.

… an attempt to take over the territorial waters of other countries

Sometimes this appears to happen in somewhat irritating ways as reports say: Micronesia’s President David Panuelo has accused China of making ‘direct threats against my personal safety’

The prosecutor accused three people of acting as foreign agents with ties to overseas organizations, but refused to name the organizations. The defence lawyer said “not knowing the identity” of the alleged foreign government or entity made any mitigation difficult given the foreign agent allegation.

National cybersecurity agency deems TikTok a threat to Czechia

The Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) has today warned Czechs against downloading the Chinese video application TikTok. It has labeled the app a “security threat” and said the public should “think twice” before using it.

Danish public broadcaster advises staff against using TikTok

Every year, the Committee to Protect Journalists documents the number of journalists behind bars worldwide. The 2022 edition sets a grim record of 363 names. But Wikileaks founder Julian Assange fails to appear on the list as has been the case since he was dragged from London’s Ecuadorian Embassy in 2019 and locked in solitary confinement at Belmarsh Prison, dubbed “Britain’s Guantánamo.”

"TikTok is a Chinese company that currently is mandated to cooperate with Chinese intelligence services,” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement. The Belgian ban is based on a risk analysis by the country's intelligence services and recommendations by the national cybersecurity center.

“The practical impacts [...] of Chinese control over our communications infrastructure, our ocean territory and the resources within them, and our security space, aside from impacts on our sovereignty, is that it increases the chances of China getting into conflict with Australia, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand, on the day when Beijing decides to invade Taiwan,” David Panuelo said in a letter.

Supporters include international lawyers and high-profile political figures including Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate; Fawzia Koofi, the first female deputy speaker of the Afghan Parliament; and Benafsha Yaqoobi, a commissioner on the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Yeah, especially from Facebook and other big tech. They never sell user data. Never. Pinky swear.

“Our facial age estimation is a privacy-preserving solution," says Julie Dawson, chief policy and regulatory officer at Yoti.

... but even there seems to be a lot room for improvement: The Economist’s glass-ceiling index measures the role and influence of women in the workforce across mostly richest countries.

Finnish telecoms company Elisa to roll out Europe’s largest distributed virtual power plant
The solution enables Elisa's infrastructure to provide its flexible capacity from base station batteries to Transmission System Operators (TSO) for grid balancing purposes. This helps to deploy more renewable energy by taking wind energy when available and using it at times when the wind is not blowing.

A newly detected advanced malware infects business-grade routers enabling attackers to read mails, download files and funnel data from other servers through the router, turning the victim's device into some sort of a proxy. The campaign is hitting North and South America and Europe, researchers say.

Criminologist Betsy Stanko and a team of more than 50 scholars investigated why less than 3% of rapes reported in the UK in 2020 had resulted in charges being brought, and why this percentage almost halved in 2021. "If [the police] thinks that the problem with rape is that it’s mostly regretful sex, then there is no leadership or commitment to change," she says.

You are not just being tracked by a network of cameras, new tech can also detect who has been with you. US-based firm Vintra sells its co-appearance feature to the San Francisco 49ers, the IRS and police departments across the country, and the Chinese government uses co-appearance to spot protesters and dissidents.

According to the survey cited in the article, the participating experts say that AI will also have useful implications, although the majority agrees that they will be outweighed by negative effects.

I am personally convinced of the latter and agree with Alejandro Pisanty saying that “the future is to be determined by the agendas of commercial interests and governments, to our chagrin”. The biggest problem imho is that this topic is almost exclusively discussed within professional circles. The wider public is completely unaware what lies ahead.

What we urgently needed is a broad discussion across the entire society, and this requires to communicate the relevant topics in a language the wider “non-tech” public can understand.

We need to ignite real public conversations to help people fully understand the stakes of these developments

I fully agree with this quote by Kathryn Bouskill.

Experts agree that powerful corporate and government authorities will expand the role of AI in people’s daily lives in useful ways. But many worry these systems will diminish individuals’ ability to control their choices.

This is likely only for US people living in the Boston area: Journalists in the Boston area

The man whose leaking of the Pentagon Papers and decades of anti-war activity have inspired generations of whistleblowers and activists, announced on social media that he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer, and doctors have given me three to six months to live. Whistleblowers and activists hailed a man one collaborator said "has been a beacon of integrity and truth, willing to say and do what the warmakers and nuclear-holocaust planners find completely unacceptable."

Albania has largely steered clear of piling on huge Chinese debt in exchange for development. But PM Edi Rama said his country will not completely leave the initiative as it is important for countries to “talk as much as we can to each other” and to “put ourselves in the shoes of others.”

This is strongly related: ‘It makes me want to cry’: inside crumbling courts as judges wrestle with rise in rent eviction cases

Edit for an addition:

In a lobbying campaign targeting politicians, press, the Bank of England and the government, Ben Beadle, the chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), had in recent months warned “landlords are selling because of punitive taxation” and of “decimated” supply hitting tenants. […]

But Beadle this month told an industry webinar: “Actually the truth is that while some landlords are leaving the sector, this sector is actually still increasing. That’s not terribly helpful to our argument to be honest with you. But in the context of cost of living and rising costs we have to tell that story and link the two.”

Source: Landlords accused of ‘making up stories’ in drive to change UK tax rules

"After more than a decade of austerity, the UK lives with private affluence – if only for the privileged few – amid public squalor,” a new report says. Economic policies generated a lose-lose-lose for the UK economy after 2010, leading to stagnant productivity, falling living standards, and worse public services. The study published by the Progressive Economy Forum in brief: - Given that spending increases were matched by increased tax revenues, public spending could have been increased by 3% every year between 2011-2019, which amounts to £540bn for the entire period. - The analysis compares this with some numbers: "A large hospital costs around £1 billion to construct, while the total NHS budget in 2018-19 was around £114 billion. In 2023, every 1% pay increase for NHS workers on the Agenda for Change pay scale, which includes nurses and midwives, would cost around £700m [...]. An extra £91bn in 2019 [...] would be enough to fund the entire education budget." - In the scenario described by the researchers, the UK's debt-to-GDP ratio would have been 3 percentage points lower by the end of 2019 despite the increase in public spending. - Claims by former governments that a reduction in the size of the state would raise confidence in the ability of the government to service its debt, leading to lower interest rates, greater macroeconomic stability, and thereby higher growth, are outweighed by labour market mechanisms. - This is because "cuts to government spending, particularly on benefits and public sector employees, increase the cost of being unemployed and worsen the public sector employment alternatives available to private sector workers", the researchers say. Consequently, the bargaining power of private sector workers weakens so they become willing to work for lower wages. - The results are higher employment and economic activity, but at lower wages and worse conditions. The indirect effects of this were severe and highly unequal in the UK since 2010 as the costs fell overwhelmingly on women and the lower paid - an effect the researchers call "exploitative austerity." - There's no need a return to austerity in 2023, the report goes on. Balanced budget increases in spending (meaning that public spending goes hand in hand with tax revenues) are necessary to "break the doom loop of austerity".

Crowds were protesting against a government plan that would give parliament the power to override the Supreme Court through a simple majority vote, and de facto control over court nominees. The new rules have pitted PM Netanyahu’s far-right government against the country’s civil society, academic and business elite, and former government ministers and military figures.

A new study published just yesterday:

For the first time researchers have proven a clear correlation between deforestation and regional precipitation. […] The paper, published in the journal Nature, adds to fears that the degradation of the Amazon is approaching a tipping point after which the rainforest will no longer be able to generate its own rainfall and the vegetation will dry up.

People living in deforested areas have long provided anecdotal evidence that their microclimates became drier with lower tree cover.

Here is the link to the article, here the link to the study.

Edit for additional article: Overconsumption by the rich must be tackled, says acting UN biodiversity chief

In a letter by nearly 200 organizations and experts, the authors detail how some 22 million women and girls of reproductive age live in states where abortion access is now either banned or inaccessible. Here is the letter (pdf): https://www.globaljusticecenter.net/files/UNSpecialProceduresLetter_USAbortionRights.pdf

US voters are strongly in favor of policies that protect abortion, an investigation finds. 62 percent of voters believe abortions should be legal under most circumstances, including 85 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 36 percent of Republicans, Data for Progress finds.

Social media users accused banks of being “shameless” in encouraging pensioners to take out loans, as the number of foreclosures on properties increased by more than one-third last year. House prices plummeted in 2022, and confidence in the market remains shaky.

Worryingly, nearly all of these deaths are preventable. Solutions are complex, a current report says. But it also points the inequalities seen both between and within countries when it comes to access to high-quality and respectful care, and the importance of sexual and reproductive rights and women’s autonomy, including access to safe abortion.

Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the three countries with the biggest rainforests, signed a pact to work together to curb deforestation, and to urge other countries to help finance it. This long read provides some insight to understand how hard it is to replace the rule of the chainsaw with the rule of law.

I don’t know the person who wrote this post, but accusing someone of extremism (no matter if it’s left or right) because of linking to a news article like this is unnecessary to say the least.

The linked article describes more than “a few incidents”. I think we all read about the death of Mahsa Amini because she refused to wear a hijab or about the 16-year-old Asra Panahi who was beaten to death for refusing to sing pro-regime anthem.

It’s rather a systemic opression as women and girls as well as other minorities are treated like second-class citizens in Iran, and the situation in 2022 has worsened.

A few isolated incidents? How women and girls are treated in Iran has been covered by multiple media “in the west” and everywhere else. You can also ask Iranian women who were able to emigrate and learn more about these “few isolated incidents”.

And, no, this is not a cultural issue nor a ideological one.

Canada has joined the growing list of countries that have placed restrictions on the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok. The move comes only days after the European Commission imposed a similar ban.

Platforms use software that has passed its end-of-life date, meaning that new bugs don't receive official patches. Platforms are also potentially transmitting sensitive information from form fields to third parties through the use of autocomplete, according to a report published by the Federal Office for Information Security.

A Q&A with Kamal Quadir, founder of bKash, a financial services company, most recently valued at $2 billion in 2021.

The cited study provides a lot of evidence. Just in case you don’t have time to read it or don’t trust the source for whatever reason, have a look here, here, here or here, for example.

I wouldn’t say medieval, but there appears to be a strong tendency to autocratic and backward-looking, conservative rules - and not only in the “anglo-saxon” world. We see this in countries like China (see here and here, for example) and many other. For example, see here.

Edit for an addition: Just read that Anthony Albanese becomes first Australian PM to march in Sydney Mardi Gras LOL

Compare Alex Morgan’s statements now to her male colleagues’ behaviour during the football world cup in Qatar last year …

This is not new. It happens offline and online (fake product reviews to promote your item, or faked bad reviews on your competitors’). We encountered that for the first time in the early 2000’s. What’s new about it is maybe that they advertise it so openly.

I don’t know which study you are refering to. Is it available somewhere?

Yes, only customers seem to be affected. I corrected the headline to make that clear. Sorry.

This appears to be one of the hottest market trends with China having the most extensive public surveillance system, but we may assume other regions to gain ground.

That’s weird. I don’t encounter problems watching the video. Maybe try refresh the page or try this alternative.

This is sadly true. In my nearer environment literally everyone agrees, too, but politics is lagging behind.

I don’t know where you live, but I agree we should never be whining about a country and its people. To critisize the government if there’s a reason, but never the people. A country’s government and its people are not the same.

to substitute for that same page to be about the USA.>

Maybe, but does that make any country better?

This is all the Empires’s fault

I see. As we know whose fault it is, the problem is solved, right?

When China’s colonialization projects will have produced the same environmental and social desasters as all the others in human history, will they also have to “pay reparations”? And if so, with an earth then being widely unhabitable, what do we do with the money?

A lot of topics here appear to trigger a debate of ideoligies or between “first world” and “third world” (I decry such terminology, but let’s put that aside now), as if that would solve any problem. It’s sort of of double standard: environmental pollution is bad and good, surveillance is bad and good … it just depends who commits the crime …

If you’ve got a couple of minutes, scroll through the images from around the globe to see where we’re all heading as a global human race. (Ah, yes, the current climate crisis has been and is still being caused mostly by the US and many countries in Europe, and, yes, these countries must change their lifestyles and they are financially liable for the crises. These are two of many issues I agree with my friends from China, South America and Africa.)

We can all see media and NGO websites riddled with trackers, and so are possibly many journalists’ devices. So yes, I’d agree that’s worrying how easy it obviously was.

This is one of the most insightful, straight-to-the-point short articles about Web3 and decentralization I’ve ever read if I may say so.

Aha, that’s good question. I don’t know, unfortunately, but I am sure there is someone around more capable than me …

I am not sure whether I understand the question, but I understand Blokada is a VPN. So they’re certainly able to track you across the web. If you don’t trust them, don’t use them.

I found this on tbe web, but I don’t understand that either. So take it with a pinch of salt.

Not yet. They just started, but I thought it’s interesting for the community here.

Don’t know what the best are, but there is The Conversation and Rest Of World, and you may find information also here.