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    US approves Google plan to let political emails bypass Gmail spam filter

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 12 August - 16:55 · 1 minute

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The US Federal Election Commission approved a Google plan on Thursday to let campaign emails bypass Gmail spam filters. The FEC's advisory opinion adopted in a 4-1 vote said Gmail's pilot program is permissible under the Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations "and would not result in the making of a prohibited in-kind contribution."

The FEC said Google's approved plan is for "a pilot program to test new Gmail design features at no cost on a nonpartisan basis to authorized candidate committees, political party committees, and leadership PACs." On July 1, Google asked the FEC for the green light to implement the pilot after Republicans accused the company of giving Democrats an advantage in its algorithms.

Republicans reportedly could have avoided some of their Gmail spam problems by using the proper email configuration. At a May 2022 meeting between Senate Republicans and Google's chief legal officer, "the most forceful rebuke" was said to come "from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who claimed that not a single email from one of his addresses was reaching inboxes," The Washington Post reported in late July. "The reason, it was later determined, was that a vendor had not enabled an authentication tool that keeps messages from being marked as spam, according to people briefed on the discussions."

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    Musk wants Twitter to identify employees who calculate spam percentage

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August - 19:31

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Elon Musk's lawyers want to question the Twitter employees responsible for calculating spam-account estimates, and they claim that Twitter is hiding these potential witnesses, Bloomberg reported yesterday .

Musk on Wednesday filed a proposed order requesting that Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick compel Twitter "to produce discovery from specific custodians." Musk provided further details on the request in a letter to McCormick that was filed under seal as part of the case in which Twitter seeks to enforce the $44 billion merger contract that Musk is trying to exit.

While the letter isn't public yet, Bloomberg cited "people familiar with the allegations" to describe the letter's contents. "Musk contends the social media company isn't producing the names of employees specifically responsible for evaluating how much of Twitter's customer base is made up of spam and robot accounts... Musk's lawyers have asked the judge in the case to force Twitter to identify the workers so the defense can get their records and question them," Bloomberg wrote.

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    Lawsuits: OnlyFans bribed Instagram to put creators on “terrorist blacklist”

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August - 19:04 · 1 minute

Lawsuits: OnlyFans bribed Instagram to put creators on “terrorist blacklist”

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Through the pandemic, OnlyFans took over the online adult entertainment world to become a billion-dollar top dog, projected to earn five times more net revenue in 2022 than in 2020. As OnlyFans’ business grew, content creators on rival platforms complained that social media sites like Facebook and Instagram were blocking their content but seemingly didn’t block OnlyFans with the same fervor, creating an unfair advantage. OnlyFans' mounting success amid every other platform's demise seemed to underscore its mysterious edge.

As adult entertainers outside of OnlyFans’ content stream looked for answers to their declining revenue, they realized that Meta had not only allegedly targeted their accounts to be banned for posting supposedly inappropriate content but seemingly also for suspected terrorist activity. The more they dug into why they had been branded as terrorists, the more they suspected that OnlyFans paid Meta to put the mark on their heads—resulting in account bans that went past Facebook and Instagram and spanned popular social media apps across the Internet.

Now, Meta has been hit with multiple class action lawsuits alleging that senior executives at Meta accepted bribes from OnlyFans to shadow-ban competing adult entertainers by placing them on a "terrorist blacklist." Meta claims the suspected scheme is “highly implausible,” and that it's more likely that OnlyFans beat its rivals in the market through successful strategic moves, like partnering with celebrities. However, lawyers representing three adult entertainers suing Meta say the owner of Facebook and Instagram will likely have to hand over documents to prove it.

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    FTC aims to counter the “massive scale” of online data collection

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August - 18:09 · 1 minute

FTC Chair Lina Khan said the commission intends to act on commercial data collection, which happens at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts."

Enlarge / FTC Chair Lina Khan said the commission intends to act on commercial data collection, which happens at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts." (credit: Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission has kicked off the rulemaking process for privacy regulations that could restrict online surveillance and punish bad data-security practices. It's a move that some privacy advocates say is long overdue, as similar Congressional efforts face endless uncertainty.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking , approved on a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, was spurred by commercial data collection, which occurs at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a press release . Companies surveil online activity, friend networks, browsing and purchase history, location data, and other details; analyze it with opaque algorithms; and sell it through "the massive, opaque market for consumer data," Khan said.

Companies can also fail to secure that data or use it to make services addictive to children. They can also potentially discriminate against customers based on legally protected statuses like race, gender, religion, and age, the FTC said. What's more, the release said, some companies make taking part in their "commercial surveillance" required for service or charge a premium to avoid it, employing dark patterns to keep the systems in place.

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    One of 5G’s biggest features is a security minefield

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 August - 14:41 · 1 minute

One of 5G’s biggest features is a security minefield

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True 5G wireless data, with its ultrafast speeds and enhanced security protections , has been slow to roll out around the world. As the mobile technology proliferates—combining expanded speed and bandwidth with low-latency connections—one of its most touted features is starting to come in to focus. But the upgrade comes with its own raft of potential security exposures.

A massive new population of 5G-capable devices, from smart-city sensors to agriculture robots and beyond, are gaining the ability to connect to the Internet in places where Wi-Fi isn't practical or available. Individuals may even elect to trade their fiber-optic Internet connection for a home 5G receiver. But the interfaces that carriers have set up to manage Internet-of-things data are riddled with security vulnerabilities, according to research presented this week at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. And those vulnerabilities could dog the industry long-term.

After years of examining potential security and privacy issues in mobile-data radio frequency standards, Technical University of Berlin researcher Altaf Shaik says he was curious to investigate the application programming interfaces (APIs) that carriers are offering to make IoT data accessible to developers. These are the conduits that applications can use to pull, say, real-time bus-tracking data or information about stock in a warehouse. Such APIs are ubiquitous in web services, but Shaik points out that they haven't been widely used in core telecommunications offerings. Looking at the 5G IoT APIs of 10 mobile carriers around the world, Shaik and his colleague Shinjo Park found common but serious API vulnerabilities in all of them, and some could be exploited to gain authorized access to data or even direct access to IoT devices on the network.

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    FCC cancels Starlink’s $886 million grant from Ajit Pai’s mismanaged auction

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 10 August - 19:23

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected Starlink's application to receive $885.51 million in broadband funding, essentially canceling a grant awarded by the FCC during then-Chairman Ajit Pai's tenure.

Starlink was tentatively awarded the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) grant in December 2020. But the satellite provider still needed FCC approval of a long-form application to receive the money, which is intended for areas with little or no high-speed broadband access.

We wrote about potential problems with the SpaceX grant a week after the FCC's reverse auction , in which ISPs bid on grants organized by census blocks. Consumer advocacy group Free Press accused Pai of "subsidiz[ing] broadband for the rich," pointing out that Starlink was awarded money in urban areas including locations at or adjacent to major airports.

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    It’s not just social media: Cable news has bigger effect on polarization

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 10 August - 18:59

It’s not just social media: Cable news has bigger effect on polarization

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The past two election cycles have seen an explosion of attention given to “echo chambers,” or communities where a narrow set of views makes people less likely to challenge their own opinions. Much of this concern has focused on the rise of social media, which has radically transformed the information ecosystem .

However, when scientists investigated social media echo chambers, they found surprisingly little evidence of them on a large scale—or at least none on a scale large enough to warrant the growing concerns. And yet, selective exposure to news does increase polarization . This suggested that these studies missed part of the picture of Americans’ news consumption patterns. Crucially, they did not factor in a major component of the average American’s experience of news: television.

To fill in this gap, I and a group of researchers from Stanford University , the University of Pennsylvania and Microsoft Research tracked the TV news consumption habits of tens of thousands of American adults each month from 2016 through 2019. We discovered four aspects of news consumption that, when taken together, paint an unsettling picture of the TV news ecosystem.

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    Elon Musk cashes in $6.9 billion of Tesla stock, just in case

    news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 10 August - 15:42

Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images

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Within weeks of the Twitter board's approval of Elon Musk's unsolicited bid to take the company private, the South African-born billionaire came down with a severe case of buyer's remorse. Twitter was not happy, and after Musk decided not to go through with the purchase , the social media company quickly sued him . In advance of the trial, set for October despite Musk's attempts to push it back to 2023, Elon Musk is apparently preparing for the worst-case scenario of being forced to consummate the deal.

With Tesla stock on a rebound, Musk has just sold $6.9 billion worth of shares in his electric car company, a move disclosed in regulatory filings on Tuesday. Musk got an average of $869 for the shares, which is significantly more than the $628 that TSLA shares were trading at in late May. TSLA had hit its 2022 peak of $1,145 on April 4, the day after Musk revealed his purchase of 9.2 percent of Twitter's outstanding shares.

In late April, after announcing his plans to buy Twitter, Musk unloaded $8.5 billion in Tesla stock , saying at the time that there were "no further TSLA sales planned after today."

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