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  1. #101
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    US Muslim groups welcome changes to Google results

    'Direct connection' between misleading information about Islam, uptick in Islamophobic attacks, says Imam Omar Suleiman

    By Michael Hernandez


    Queries about Islam and Muslims on the world’s largest search engine have been updated amid public pressure to tamp down alleged disinformation from hate groups.


    However, activists who have worked to bring about the changes say more work remains.

    In the past, users on Google seeking information about the religion or its adherents would be presented prominently with what many criticized as propaganda from hate groups.

    That has recently changed.

    Google's first page results for searches of terms such as “jihad”, “shariah” and “taqiyya” now return mostly reputable explanations of the Islamic concepts. Taqiyya, which describes the circumstances under which a Muslim can conceal their belief in the face of persecution, is the sole term to feature a questionable website on the first page of results.

    Google did not confirm to Anadolu Agency the changes but said it is constantly updating its algorithms.

    The search giant referred the agency to a recent blog post in which it said it was working to push back on what it called “offensive or clearly misleading content”.

    “To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content,” it said.

    Combatting Islamophobia


    One leading activist in favor of Google modifying its results told Anadolu Agency he noticed the updated search results and thanked the company for its efforts but said “much still needs to be done”.

    Imam Omar Suleiman, who has been at the forefront of efforts to combat misleading information about his faith on the web, argued that Google and companies like it have a responsibility to combat “hate-filled Islamophobia” similar to how they work to suppress extremist propaganda from groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda.

    Suleiman said Google should differentiate between “criticism of Islam and hate-filled Islamophobia”, emphasizing the religion should not be infringed upon.

    “Google does not need to silence criticism of Islam and honest discussions about Islam, but heavily funded hate groups that are able to work the SEOs to get their websites showing up on the first, second page – I think that’s deeply problematic,” the popular imam said, referring to search engine optimization -- the way in which websites are able to improve their placement in search engine results.

    The task of sorting out legitimate criticism or debate about Islam from misleading information will not be easy, particularly in societies that value freedom of speech -- a fact Suleiman, who is the founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, acknowledged.

    Google told Anadolu Agency it does not seek to remove content from its platform simply because it is unsavory or unpopular, but does its best to prevent hate speech from appearing.

    One way it is working to improve on the effort is by providing users with a mechanism in autofill suggestions that would allow users to alert the company when an offensive term appears.

    Amid a nationwide increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims, the effort to combat misinformation is more imperative than ever, Muslim group said.


    Hate crimes against Muslims


    The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the U.S.’s largest Muslim advocacy group, said it tracked a 584 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes from 2014 to 2016.

    The group is not the only one to find such numbers. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate incidents and groups in the U.S. and said it found hate groups increasing in number for the second consecutive year in 2016, fueled largely by a near-tripling of anti-Muslim groups.

    “The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims,” the center said in its annual report.

    Information people receive from a variety of sources -- television, radio and the Internet -- no doubt plays a role in fomenting hatred among some of those who perpetrate attacks but could also be used to stop them.

    “We are seeing a rise in hate crimes towards Muslims, and there is a direct connection between this demonization of Islam and Muslims and the hate crimes that are being perpetuated against Muslims in the United States,” Suleiman said.

    Still, he maintained that such voices should not be censored but “should not be featured prominently as authoritative voices.”

    Suleiman added: “I don’t think Google has a responsibility to portray Muslims positively. I think Google has a responsibility to weed out fear-mongering and hate groups but I don’t want Google to silence critique of Islam, or critique of Muslims, or critique of Judaism, or Black Lives Matter -- whatever it is.

    “It’s a fair ask that when someone goes to Google they are not being presented with information from hate groups, and representatives of the faith, as well as respectable academics... as if they’re all on the same playing field.

    “We’re not on the same playing field.”

    Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.

    http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-musl...results/869584

  2. #102
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    Apple to kill off fingerprint sensors and add FaceID to ALL iPhones next year

    Apple's radical FaceID system is set to come to the entire iPhone line next year, it has been claimed.

    The firm is set to abandon its current TouchID fingerprint system entirely, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

    He claims that all 2018 iPhone models will move to Face ID, according to 9to5Mac

    Just last month he issued a note in which he said the future of Face ID depended largely upon consumer reaction to the iPhone X.

    The analyst writes that 3D sensing will be a 'key selling point' of all new 2018 iPhone models and says TrueDepth cameras and Face ID will help Apple 'capitalize on its clear lead in 3D sensing design and production for smartphones.'

    Kuo also predicted that the iPad Pro would gain Face ID next year.

    However, the modules needed for FaceID are still causing major production issues for Apple just weeks before its iPhone X launch, it has been claimed.

    The firm's suppliers are still struggling to perfect manufacturing of the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera and 3D facial recognition system, according to Japan's Nikkei Asian Review.

    Jeff Pu, an analyst with Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, believes the problems could mean Apple will face even bigger shortages of its flagship handset than previously thought.

    He cut his forecast of the number of iPhone X devices that will be produced this year from 40 million units to 36 million.

    FACEID PROBLEMS

    Multiple reports have claimed it has taken more time to assemble the TrueDepth system's so-called 'Romeo' module than the 'Juliet' module.

    The 'Romeo' module includes the dot projector that beams more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face.

    The 'Juliet' module includes the infrared camera that analyzes the pattern.

    Together, they help power new iPhone X features such as Face ID and Animoji.

    HOW APPLE'S FACE ID WORKS

    Face ID uses a TrueDepth front-facing camera on the iPhone X, which has multiple components.

    A Dot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure.


    The dot map is then read by an infrared camera and the structure of your face is relayed to the A11 Bionic chip in the iPhone X, where it is turned into a mathematical model.

    When FaceID is used, a dot projector projects more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to map its structure

    The A11 chip then compares your facial structure to the facial scan stored in the iPhone X during the setup process.


    Face ID uses infrared to scan your face, so it works in low lighting conditions and in the dark.


    It will only unlock your device when you look in the direction of the iPhone X with your eyes open.




    Face ID captures both a 3-D and 2-D image of your face using infrared light while you're looking straight at the camera.

    Five unsuccessful attempts at Face ID will force you to enter a passcode - which you'll need anyway just to set up facial recognition.


    That requires you to come up with a secure string of digits - or, for extra security, a string of letters and numbers - to protect your privacy.


    Face ID also adapts to changes in your appearance over time, so it will continue to recognize you as you grow a beard or grow your hair longer.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...D-iPhones.html

    comments:

    It doesn't even work properly yet and they are going to push it out anyway. First they got people's fingerprints and now they will get their faces. Also a big security risk, just as fingerprinting was, you can take advantage of a sleeping person or force anyone to unlock your phone so easily now. A nice ploy to get stupid people to give up their bio-metrics for free.

  3. #103
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    Essential is the phone Android users should get if they like the iPhone X's design

    I'm talking about the Phone from Essential.

    The Phone runs on the fastest and latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and packs 4GB of RAM, which is pretty standard across the range of Android flagship handsets. Storage-wise, the only option you get is 128GB of flash memory

    The Phone's camera might not be an iPhone X or Pixel 2 killer, but it still has a great camera that anyone would be happy with.

    You won't find facial recognition on the Phone, like the iPhone X's Face ID, but the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Phone will do just fine to unlock the phone.

    for its $500 price tag compared to the iPhone X's $1,000 asking price, as well as the price of the $900+ Galaxy Note 8, $650 Pixel 2, and $850 Pixel 2 XL, those compromises may be easier to accept.









    The Phone's camera might not be an iPhone X or Pixel 2 killer, but it still has a great camera that anyone would be happy with.

    Just be aware that you'll have to make a few compromises when it comes to features.

    While I appreciate the Essential Phone's near-stock Android operating system, it's not quite as feature-packed as the iPhone X. You won't find facial recognition on the Phone, like the iPhone X's Face ID, but the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Phone will do just fine to unlock the phone.


    You may also find the Phone's camera app a little bare on the feature front compared to the iPhone X. For one, it doesn't have a portrait mode to blur backgrounds and give your photos that professional touch. Still, everyone managed without portrait mode before.


    The Essential Phone isn't without its compromises compared to the iPhone X, but it's still one of the best-looking Android smartphones you can buy. And for its $500 price tag compared to the iPhone X's $1,000 asking price, as well as the price of the $900+ Galaxy Note 8, $650 Pixel 2, and $850 Pixel 2 XL, those compromises may be easier to accept.

  4. #104
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    Apple Admits Secretly Slowing Down Older iPhones


    Apple settled long-standing conspiracy theories surrounding claims that the company was purposefully slowing down older iPhones in order to force people into buying newer models - and there's a "perfectly good" explanation.

    Batteries

    In early December, Reddit user TeckFire posted a report in the iPhone subreddit, noting that after experiencing a painful slowdown on his iPhone 6S, a brand new battery resulted in significant improvement in benchmark scores - as can be seen in photos posted to the thread:



    After testing performed by Geekbench developer John Poole, it was indeed confirmed that iPhones were being throttled to preserve battery life or avoid unexpected shutdowns while the battery degrades.



    The Cupertino, CA company responded to the internet sleuths, admitting in a statement "Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components."

    "Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future," said the company.

    As TechCrunch explains:

    Basically, iPhones were hitting peaks of processor power that the battery was unable to power and the phones were shutting off. Apple then added power management to all iPhones at the time that would “smooth out” those peaks by either capping the power available from the battery or by spreading power requests over several cycles. This is clearly shown in Poole’s charts in his post:


    Many have pointed out how bad it looks for Apple - which has been accused of throttling older phones to make them buy new ones, was caught throttling phones. No matter how legitimate the reason, the fact that they were caught - and forced to admit - is going to fuel conspiracy theories for a while.



    To recap: due to battery performance degradation issues, the power demands of the iPhone processor was causing shutoff issues. To solve this, Apple secretly throttled their phones in order to avoid the issue... and were caught by internet sleuths before issuing a statement with their tail between their legs. Was there any impact on the stock price? Of course not: after all 2018 is the year companies make buybacks great again.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-...-older-iphones

  5. #105
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    Germany starts enforcing hate speech law

    Germany is set to start enforcing a law that demands social media sites move quickly to remove hate speech, fake news and illegal material.

    Sites that do not remove "obviously illegal" posts could face fines of up to 50m euro (£44.3m).

    The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.

    Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law's provisions.

    Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law's main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network VK. Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions.

    Act faster

    The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law was passed at the end of June 2017 and came into force in early October.

    The social networks were given until the end of 2017 to prepare themselves for the arrival of NetzDG.

    The call to police social media sites more effectively arose after several high-profile cases in which fake news and racist material was being spread via the German arms of prominent social media firms.

    Germany's justice ministry said it would make forms available on its site, which concerned citizens could use to report content that violates NetzDG or has not been taken down in time.

    As well as forcing social media firms to act quickly, NetzDG requires them to put in place a comprehensive complaints structure so that posts can quickly be reported to staff.

    Most material will have to be removed within 24 hours but networks will have a week to act on "complex cases".

    Facebook has reportedly recruited several hundred staff in Germany to deal with reports about content that breaks the NetzDG and to do a better job of monitoring what people post.

    The law has been controversial in Germany with some saying it could lead to inadvertent censorship or curtail free speech.

    The German law is the most extreme example of efforts by governments and regulators to rein in social media firms. Many of them have come under much greater scrutiny this year as information about how they are used to spread propaganda and other sensitive material has come to light.

    In the UK, politicians have been sharply critical of social sites, calling them a "disgrace" and saying they were "shamefully far" from doing a good job of policing hate speech and other offensive content.

    The European Commission also published guidelines calling on social media sites to act faster to spot and remove hateful content.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42510868

    --------------


    Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Face Massive Fines As German Hate Speech Law Kicks In

    Social media companies are facing a herculean task following the January 1 kickoff of Germany's strict new "hate speech" laws, giving companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 24 hours after a complaint to remove postings containing hate speech.

    Failure to remove the offending posts in time so will expose the platforms to fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million USD).


    The new law was passed last June and went into effect in October - however social media companies were given until January 1 to prepare for compliance, such that they maintain an "effective and transparent procedure for dealing with complaints" which users can submit freely. Upon receiving a complaint, social media companies have 24 hours to block or remove "obviously illegal content" - and up to a week in "complex cases."

    Germany has unique hate speech laws which criminalize certain language - such as incitement to racial or religious violence, speech denigrating religions, and other posts deemed to be offensive.

    Facebook hired over 500 German contractors in November out of a reported 3,000 to help comply with the new law, who will work for a service provider called CCC out of a new office in the western city of Essen. Meanwhile, the German government has reportedly hired a staff of 50 people assigned to the task of implementing and policing the law.

    The new law isn't just for the big three (Facebook, YouTube and Twitter) either:

    Social platform giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were couched as the initial targets for the law, but Spiegal Online suggests the government is looking to apply the law more widely — including to content on networks such as Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, VK and Gab. -TechCrunch

    Social media giants face a gigantic task - which some might say is impossible. It is estimated that around 37.3 million Germans will use social media in 2017.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-...eech-law-kicks

  6. #106
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    Amazon is raising its monthly Prime membership rate


    Amazon is raising its monthly Prime membership rates 18 percent.


    The premium membership that grants faster shipping and access to Amazon Video will now cost $12.99 per month, up from $10.99, according to the company's membership page.


    Amazon is also increasing the discounted student monthly rate from $5.49 to $6.49 per month for new sign-ups.

    The cost of a yearly membership, $99, will not change.


    Recode first noticed the new price.


    Amazon started the monthly pricing model less than two years ago as a more flexible way of taking advantage of Prime's fast shipping and other benefits. Prime members spend considerably more on Amazon than non-Prime members.
    Amazon issued this statement Friday morning:


    "Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members. The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. We also continue to introduce new, popular and award-winning Prime Originals, like The Grand Tour, Sneaky Pete, and the Golden Globe-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – all included with Prime Video. Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more. We will keep introducing new ways to make members' lives even better."
    The company doesn't disclose the number of Prime members in its earnings. Instead, the company shows revenue from "subscription services," which includes Prime in the U.S. and overseas, as well as subscriptions for things such as e-books and music. In the third quarter of 2017, subscription revenue grew 59 percent from the prior year, to $2.4 billion.


    Research firm GBH Insights estimates 88 million people subscribe to Amazon Prime and expects only a 2 percent churn from the price hike as the more expensive monthly rate nudges users to an annual subscription, analyst Daniel Ives said.


    Morgan Stanley said in a note published in December that Amazon Prime growth is plateauing in the U.S., showing the first signs of a slowdown. It based its conclusion on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/19/amaz...thly-rate.html

  7. #107
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    Hacker Hijacked School Webcams to Produce Child Pornography, Indictment Alleges

    By Anthony Cuthbertson - 1/11/18

    A man from Ohio was charged on Wednesday for allegedly producing child pornography from footage obtained by spying through the webcams of computers used by children.

    Phillip Durachinsky, 28, was indicted for infecting thousands of computers with malware that allowed him to secretly hijack webcams in order to watch and listen to unknowing victims for over a decade.

    The indictment alleges that Durachinsky took part in the hacking scheme from 2003 until January 2017, using computers owned by individuals, organizations and schools.

    For more than 13 years, Phillip Durachinsky allegedly infected with malware the computers of thousands of Americans and stole their most personal data and communications,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Cronan. “This case is an example of the Justice Department’s continued efforts to hold accountable cybercriminals who invade the privacy of others and exploit technology for their own ends.”

    Durachinsky has been charged with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, Wiretap Act violations, production of child pornography, and aggravated identity theft.

    The so-called Fruitfly malware that Durachinsky allegedly developed and used also alerted him if a victim used their search engine to look for terms associated with pornography.

    “This defendant is alleged to have spent more than a decade spying on people across the country and accessing their personal information,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney David Sierleja.

    Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony added: “Durachinsky is alleged to have utilized his sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers.

    “The FBI would like to commend the compromised entities that brought this to the attention of law enforcement authorities. It is this kind of collaboration that has enabled authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice.”

    The case once again highlights the issue of webcam security, as well as other internet-connected devices like smart baby monitors.

    A 2016 investigation by Newsweek found hundreds of web-connected CCTV cameras, webcams and smart baby monitors listed on an online search engine called Shodan.

    Security researchers say device manufacturers are largely to blame for the issue, as they tend to prioritize other features over security.

    “The problem here is that many Internet of Things devices [smart devices that connect to the internet] are horribly broken security-wise because it costs money to ensure a reasonable standard of protection on a product,” Chris Boyd, an analyst at the security firm Malwarebytes, said at the time.

    http://www.newsweek.com/hacker-hijacked-school-webcams-produce-child-pornography-lawsuit-777730


    Cover Up Your WebCams

    https://www.facebook.com/circuitbrea...91509821141838


 

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